November 30, 2021
“No smoke without fire” – MacManus questions Fine Gael behaviour regarding pro-vulture changes in crucial 2018 EU document

“No smoke without fire” – MacManus questions Fine Gael behaviour regarding pro-vulture changes in crucial 2018 EU document
Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has said research carried out by his office suggests that a crucial EU document from 2018 which supported the use of vulture funds to tackle Ireland’s debt problems may have been changed by the Fine Gael government to make it pro-vulture.

MacManus said:
“Every year the EU sends each country so-called Country Specific Recommendations which it expects the country to then implement. The process is complicated but the EU Commission draws up a draft which is then sent to the EU Council where it can be altered. It is very unusual for any change to take place at this level but in 2018 the recommendation for Ireland regarding debt was changed significantly and in a way that made it far more pro-vultures.”

The Midlands Northwest MEP outlined his party’s difficulty in accessing records on the matter.
“Three times, through parliamentary questions tabled by my colleague Pearse Doherty TD, Sinn Féin have asked the Fine Gael government if its predecessor suggested these changes. Three times they have refused to deny or confirm that it was the Irish government that sought the changes. Minister Donohue did eventually confirm on the third time of asking that “my officials and I were satisfied with the final wording.”

“The changes were highly political and significant. They add in the phrase “by the use of secondary markets” (vulture funds) and change the text so that instead of “encouraging” write-offs of long-term arrears, it says they should be used only “where necessary”.
“In my opinion it is clear that the intention here was to provide political cover for the Fine Gael pro-vulture policy.”

“2018 was the height of vulture sales by banks. We saw and heard crocodile tears from Fine Gael and their supporters in Fianna Fail at the time but this evidence suggests that behind the scenes they were unashamedly pushing for vulture sales to be official policy. Having spoken to experts it is clear the most obvious answer is that Fine Gael itself pushed for the hard-line of support for vultures above write-downs.”

MacManus concluded by calling on the minister for clarity, “I am calling on Minister Donohue to state publicly the role he and his officials played in changing Ireland’s recommendation to make it so completely pro-vulture fund.” ENDS
Notes to editor:
Image showing alterations to text in 2018

Link to MacManus’s video addressing this issue on social media:

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