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Farmers storm AIB AGM in protest at loan sales to vulture funds

Latest: Farmers have stormed an Allied Irish Banks meeting in protest at the sale of loans to vulture funds.

Members of the Irish Farmers’ Association made their way into the bank’s annual general meeting in Dublin on Wednesday as part of a nationwide campaign opposing the planned sale of farm loans by the state-owned bank.

AIB has agreed a deal to sell a billion euro-worth of bad loans to US-based fund Cerberus.

The portfolio comprises about 2,200 non-performing loans including mortgages. More than 100 farm loans are included.

IFA farm business chairman Martin Stapleton said AIB needed to recognise that farmers were trying to repay their debts.

“What AIB are proposing to do is inappropriate,” he said. “Selling (loans of) people who are genuinely trying to repay their debt is not the way to go.

“AIB must withdraw the loans of people who are genuinely trying to engage and get back to what they say they are doing.

“Backing brave means bravely backing people who are willing to bravely back themselves. And nobody has or needs more courage than someone who is willing to give their life’s work in order to pay back their debt.

“AIB need to recognise that, restore their reputation to the Irish people and get back to being a pillar bank in this country.”

The IFA has vowed to continue the campaign until the bank withdraws all farm loans from the sale.- Press Association

Farmers to protest AIB AGM in Dublin

Earlier (7:23am): Farmers are set to protest outside the AIB AGM in Dublin later.

The Irish Farmers Association says it is part of a nationwide campaign against the bank's plans to sell over 2,000 non-performing loans, some of which includes farmland.

Earlier this month, AIB announced a deal to sell a series of bad loans to the US fund Cerberus at a cost of a billion euro.

IFA spokesperson Martin Stapleton says what is happening to farmers is not fair.

He said: "Where people are not engaging or have made no effort to engage or have shown no ability to pay is one thing.

"But from our point of view, the people who are backing it with this protest are the people who have tried to engage, some of whom have restructured loans and who have been making every effort within their means to pay.

"It's inappropriate and it's unacceptable and we will continue with every effort to get those people removed from this loan sale."

Digital Desk