January 9, 2020
Sinn Féin’s Vulture Fund legislation should be progressed immediately after being blocked by Fianna Fáil & Fine Gael for 6 months – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has called for Sinn Féin’s “No Consent, No Sale” Bill, which would end the sell-off of family homes to vulture funds, to immediately proceed to Committee Stage after 6 months of blockage and frustration by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said;

“Since coming to power Fine Gael has invited vulture funds into the Irish market to buy up distressed assets at knock-down prices. This has seen thousands of family homes sold off to vultures with no protections for distressed mortgage-holders.

“Vulture funds have no regard for the interests of distressed mortgage-holders, only for threatening them with repossession and making a profit for their shareholders. Recently, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank Ed Sibley called out the banks for selling of distressed mortgages instead of putting customers first.

“My ‘No Consent, No Sale’ would make it illegal for banks to sell of the mortgages of distressed families without their consent. This is an important issue that affects thousands of families who need this legislation to pass into law.

“Fine Gael have been very clear that they do not support this legislation and have done all they can to stop it passing through the Dáil.

“Despite their support for the legislation at second stage in the Dáil, Fianna Fáil have aided the Government in blocking this Bill from proceeding at Committee Stage.

“The legal advice did not say that the legislation is unconstitutional and the preliminary view of the Bills Office was that there was no need for a money message.

“In July, Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath proposed sending the bill for independent analysis, effectively stalling its progress. Given it had already been subject to pre-legislative scrutiny, there was no need for an independent analysis before it proceeded to Committed stage. If the parties insisted on an independent impact assessment, it could have been undertaken in parallel with the Bill proceeding through Committee Stage, as happened with our Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill, which has since become law.

“Since July, and with the support of Fianna Fáil, the Government have put an impact assessment report for the Bill out to tender at a cost of as much as €144,000 to the taxpayer.

“Since then, there have been no bids from consultants, despite going out to tender twice, first in July and again in November.

“This means that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have been successful in stalling this Bill so that it doesn’t become law before the dissolution of the Dáil.

“That is not acceptable. Thousands of families have seen their homes sold to vultures with no guarantee of protection. Thousands more face the same prospects and until this legislation is passed.

“I have written to the Chair of the Committee asking that the Bill proceed to Committee Stage immediately before it is too late to protect these families.”

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