Vulture funds who have bought up large amounts of distressed loans are targeting Irish mortgages particularly farmers who borrowed to buy land during the Celtic Tiger with the number of enforcement cases being brought to court increasing significantly.
Land repossession and evictions are an emotive subject in Ireland, the tenant activism of the land war in the 19th century played a profound role in shaping Irish attitudes towards land ownership, and ended centuries of foreign control over Irish land.
The Celtic Tiger boom saw the burden of bank debt shifted onto the public as individuals while those responsible for the collapse walked away
Many farmers have been victims of this debt bubble as foreign funds buying and trading Irish mortgages aim to get tougher on ‘non performing loans’ regardless of the viability of the faming businesses
The National housing Co-op Bill has the potential to address the problem of vulture funds targeting residential mortgages, by creating a national housing co0op society which would buy distressed mortgages from the banks and allow families to remain in their homes by becoming tenants of the national co-op.
A similar solution could also be found for farm debt where a national agency could intervene to ensure that farmers with viable operations aren’t forced off their land by foreign vulture funds. Instead a national land trust similar to the proposed housing co-op could be established to buy up distressed agricultural loans and help farmers avoid repossession.
If action is taken on vulture funds in tandem with broader action on the housing crisis the government will save money in the long run and protect people’s standard of living.