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Norris lets rip on vulture funds: 'Why were they allowed into this country?'

Speaking about his new Housing Co-op Bill, Norris said people appear to have forgotten that “eviction” is a dirty word in Ireland.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube
People put under financial terror have taken the step to take their own lives.

SENATOR DAVID NORRIS let rip on the banks, vulture funds and the government for allowing those in mortgage arrears languish in debt with no solution.

Under this Bill the National Housing Co-Operative would purchase the properties and the related debt from the various lending bodies – such as banks and vulture funds.

The capital required would be raised by the issue of a 20-year Secured Property Bond, secured by the properties acquired by co-op from existing lending agencies and underpinned by a guarantee issued by the European Investment Fund (EIF).

The sum required to purchase the portfolio of distressed home mortgage loans is estimated at €5 billion.

Norris explained that it would allow people remain in their homes and give them the opportunity to own their homes through writing new mortgage contracts over maximum of 30 years.

This Bill is particularly timely, due to AIB unloading their shares, which Norris said will “create a potential avalanche” in homelessness.

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Giving an emotional contribution in the Seanad, Norris questioned how vulture funds were even allowed into the country.

“I find it astonishing that an Irish Republic stand over evictions,” he said, adding that vulture funds were invited in to pick ”up the slack” for “vulgar profiteering”.

He went on to say he respected the former Finance Minister Michael Noonan, but added that he could not understand his thinking on this issue.

It’s on the Dáil record that officials in the Department of Finance met with private equity vulture firms 65 times in 2013 and 2014, with Noonan attending eight of those meetings.

“I don’t understand how the bloody vulture funds got into his country in the first place… how anyone can say they are good idea, because they cleaned up corpses – how could anyone make such a gaf,” he asked.

“What we are talking about is the corpses of  the well-being of the Irish people.”

Right To Homes Press Conference 1 Senator David Norris, TD Mattie McGrath and Fianna Fáil's John McGuinness at the launch of the Bill this week. Source: Paul Nicholls MediaPix phone 00353 863708698

Breaking down some of the stats, Central Bank figures show there are 41,000 mortgages that have been in arrears for a year or more, with 5.6% of all mortgages in arrears for that period.

“We are dealing with human people, with human misery. When I look at the ECB (European Central Bank) I have to say, it makes me grimace,” said Norris, stating “it’s like forcing the Jews to pay for their own execution”.

Highlighting some of the country’s stark history when it comes to landowners and evictions, he said he finds it “astonishing” that an Irish Republic would stand over evictions.

“There is a thing in Ireland about owning your land and owning your own home,” he added.

“With regards the banks – they have learned nothing. They are precisely the same as they were before the crisis,” said the senator, adding that they are unleashing “financial terror” on people.

Right2Homes press Conference Getting Behind The Bill, At Leinster House. Politicians backing the Bill at Leinster House. Source: Paul Nicholls MediaPix phone 00353 863708698

The Green Party and Solidarity-People Before Profit are supporting Bill, while it is understood the government are opposing it due to its “unaffordablity”, with one government source stating that it would create an indeterminate demand of the limited fiscal resources and the Bill would interfere with negotiations ongoing between lenders and mortgage holders.

Speaking at the launch of the Bill yesterday, homeless activist Father Peter McVerry said he did not know why anyone in Ireland could not support this Bill.

The Bill is supported by groups such as Right2Homes, the Peter McVerry Trust, Focus Ireland, Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation, Irish Homeowners Unite, The Friends of Banking and the Public Banking Forum Ireland.

If you need to talk, contact:

- Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org

- Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)

- Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email mary@pieta.ie (suicide, self-harm)

- Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)

- Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

Read: ‘Farmers are at their wit’s end’: Losing your land, home and income at the hands of vulture funds>

Read: ‘Out of the blue, we got a letter to say our loans had been sold to a vulture fund’>

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