European election

A vote for Fine Gael of Fianna Fáil is a vote for vulture funds – Matt Carthy MEP

Top of Sinn Féin's agenda

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Matt Carthy

Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said that a vote for Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil in the European elections is a vote for vulture funds which will worsen the current housing crisis.

The Midlands North West candidate said that stopping an EU directive on non-performing loans which promotes vulture funds, exacerbating the current housing crisis, will be top of Sinn Féin's agenda in the next European Parliament. The directive is being supported by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s EU political groups.

Speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin's manifesto for the European elections, Matt Carthy said:

“In March, the United Nations wrote a scathing letter to the Irish Government, pointing out that homelessness has increased exponentially in the Irish state between 2015 and 2018.

“The UN authors single out the specific policies that have caused the crisis, including the sale by the state-controlled banks of mortgages to US vulture funds.

“We are now in the situation where international investors are buying up new housing units and hoarding land – deliberately restricting supply in order to inflate rent and prices.

“The new property bubble, caused by government policy, has priced an entire generation out of buying a house.

“Unfortunately, the role of the EU institutions, particularly the ECB, has been one of undermining the rights of homeowners and borrowers, to the benefit of the banks and vulture funds.

“Now, we are dealing with a major new proposal from the European Commission aimed at ‘developing a secondary market’ for bad loans.

“The proposed directive, which promotes vulture funds will be voted on by the incoming European Parliament. It is being supported by both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s political groups. 

“I have been sounding the alarm for several months now about this proposed EU Directive which is designed to promote the use of vulture funds in order to move bad debt off the banks’ balance sheets and into the secretive and unregulated shadow banking sector.

“The proposal is nothing less than a second bailout for the banks. Its main goal is to ensure the banks can return to making massive profits again.

“It will lead to more evictions, more harassment of homeowners by debt collectors, and more housing stress and homelessness.  It will also pose major new risks to financial stability.

“I succeeded in preventing this proposal from being rammed through the European Parliament in April, as had been attempted. But it should not just be postponed – it should be binned.

“Those campaigning here in Ireland for better protections for homeowners and farmers against evictions and vultures are calling on the Irish Government to reject this proposal at the Council level.

“However, by voting for Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil in these elections, people will be voting for the promotion of vulture funds. It’s that simple.

“Fine Gael has actively promoted the financialisation of housing by inviting in the foreign funds, and granting them a light-touch regulatory framework and special tax treatment.
 
“All parties and independents claiming to support action to end the housing crisis need to put their money where their mouth is and support Pearse Doherty’s ‘No Consent, No Sale’ bill in the Dáil.

“Across the Midlands North West constituency, communities are demanding a fundamental step-change in the government’s approach to the banks and vultures – and for emergency measures to be implemented that will tackle the housing and homelessness crisis immediately and effectively.

“Sinn Féin is standing with these communities and campaigning for policies that will benefit the people and not the banks and vultures at the local, state and EU level.

“This makes the return of the strongest team of Sinn Féin MEPs to the European Parliament all the more important for the Irish people.”