Lone Star, Pepper, Carval, Cerberus and Mars have all declined to appear before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance. To date 46,000 mortgages have been sold to various investors, highlighting the significance of these funds in the Irish market.
Michael McGrath, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on finance and T.D. for Cork South Central said, “The committee decided some time ago that a meeting with private equity funds and firms servicing loans in Ireland would be a really useful exercise given the significant role they now play in the Irish economy.
“These firms own or service tens of thousands of mortgages and have also taken over large portfolios of SME loans.
“90% of NAMA’s asset disposals have been to US private equity funds or so called vulture funds. At the stroke of a pen, they can call in a loan and close down a business.
“Their business strategy should be scrutinised in an open public forum and it is deeply disappointing that some of them have refused point blank while others have cited a ‘diary clash’ as the reason for not attending.
“In stark contrast to their attitude to appearing before an Oireachtas committee in public, they have been very eager to meet the Minister for Finance and his officials in private. Figures released to me in the Dáil show that these and other US funds met officials from the Department of Finance a staggering 65 times in 2013 and 2014, with Minister Noonan personally attending on 8 occasions.
“The next Oireachtas should revisit this issue and if necessary find a way to compel these funds to appear before the Finance Committee and answer questions in a public forum. This is of particular relevance today, when we have learned that Pepper is to enter the mortgage market as a lender.”