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Mattie McGrath, bandwagons, tractor tug of war, 'death-threat' and the Friends First sit in


ShoutingIsLeadership

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A bizarre story is developing involving Mattie McGrath and, separately, Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill of Fianna Fáil and
Fine Gael Senator Michael D'Arcy.

It seems that Friends First attempted, through salvage agents, to repossess a tractor which had been purchased by a farmer on Hire Purchase.

I became aware of this story when watching Oireachtas Report this evening. What caught my eye was the above mentioned senators using parliamentary privilege to accuse Friends First of all sorts of illegal activities, including using a salvage company which threatened to kill a 16 year old attempting to prevent the repossession. Both senators seemed to be attempting to out-sensationalise the other. Is this what the Seanad is for?

Fine Gael Senator Michael D'Arcy said he had come from the family home of the people concerned in Co Wexford.

Speaking in the Seanad, he said it was a terrible thing to see people trading on the fringes of the law and perhaps trading on criminality, breaking into property and stealing property, without paperwork and threatening family members, and threatening a 16-year-old boy that if he if made a phone call, he would be killed.

He called for Senators on all sides to come together and he would like to see an all party motion coming from the Senate to deal with the practice.

Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill of Fianna Fáil noted Friends First had said in a statement that they were operating within in the law.

He said if that was the case the law need to be changed.

He said Friends First had employed people to cut a gate open at 5.30am to effectively steal a tractor from the yard.
Mattie McGrath in sit-in at Friends First office - RTÉ News

It seems that these politicians think it is unreasonable that Friends First might seek to repossess (or as they put it, "steal") the tractor, on which €80,000 is owed, but €60 is being repaid to them each month.

Well, McGrath has decided to stage at sit-in at Friends First in Loughlinstown, and McGrath has asked FF not to attempt to repossess the tractor until Garda investigations are complete.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath and a number of supporters staged a sit in at the offices of Friends First Finance in Dublin this afternoon over an incident relating to the repossession of a tractor.

Mr McGrath said he and others are incensed by the treatment of a Wexford farm family from Bunclody who resisted attempts to repossess their tractor last week.

According to Mr McGrath, salvage agents came in the early hours of last Thursday morning and drove off with the tractor. They were confronted down the laneway by the farmer and his 16-year-old son along with some neighbours.

A struggle ensued and the people employed by the bank to repossess the tractor left without it. The farmer, who has not been named, has been reported to owe €80,000 on the 12-year-old tractor, which he refinanced in 2007.

Friends First said they were acting legally and they only sought to repossess the tractor following the “persistent failure” of the farmer to honour the repayment terms of the hire purchase agreement.

They say they have acted within the law at all times.
Protest over tractor repossession - The Irish Times - Tue, Dec 04, 2012

Additional reporting:

http://www.thejournal.ie/mattie-mcgrath-occupy-friends-first-700955-Dec2012/
 
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ruserious

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Mattie, a man full of principals.

#VotedforGuarantee
#ParishPumpPlonker
 

Analyzer

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Mattie, a man full of principals.

#VotedforGuarantee
#ParishPumpPlonker
Unfortunately, a large percentage of the Dail/Seanad meets the same checklist with a tick mark beside each check.
 

Analyzer

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Is this the only incident where a TD actually makes a stand against the banks ?

Are the farmers the only ones with the balls (and maybe the biceps and big hands) to say phuck off to the banks in this country.
 

pippakin

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It is an interesting story. As high as the debt is it was being paid by installments. I heard that the bailiffs/salvage agents broke into the property in order to get to the tractor. its also said that they threatened a sixteen year old boy.

It does sound very heavy handed and I'm not sure such tactics are legal,
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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It is an interesting story. As high as the debt is it was being paid by installments. I heard that the bailiffs/salvage agents broke into the property in order to get to the tractor. its also said that they threatened a sixteen year old boy.

It does sound very heavy handed and I'm not sure such tactics are legal,
€60 per month on a €12,000 euro debt. Assuming no interest, that would take 200 months to clear, on HP. The tractor is already 12 years old.

To be honest, I am not casting any judgement on the farmer or family, it's the behaviour of the politicians that I find troubling.
 

drummed

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80k on a 2000 tractor bought in 2007? That sounds fishy for starters. Either its the worlds most expensive tractor or some serious interest charges have accrued.

Friends First are money lenders. Legal money lenders but money lenders nonetheless.
Buying a tractor via them does'nt make a lot of sense. I have'nt come across them personally but i have heard some negative reports regarding their, er..........customer relations.

I think the senators are perfectly entitled to highlight this matter as it is in the consumers interest. There has been a lot of trouble recently re farm machinery being taken by banks and similar. Regardless of the right and wrongs of the individual cases a lot of owners get very upset and some are armed. Many of those working for the bank are not pleasant people and sooner or later a serious incident is going to occur. A few close calls have already occured.
This whole area needs to be regulated cause right now it seems a wild west sort of system applies. If the farm has guns and enough help the machinery stays. Otherwise it goes. This is no way to operate for any of those concerned.

Friends First are so far under water on that tractor now its almost a total write off.

BOI took a lot of machinery from a contractor during the summer in Tipp. After a load of local farmers closed their BOI accounts it all came back magicly! Say what you want about farmers but one thing i really admire about the farming community is that they do stick together and will help each other when the chips are down. That sort of community spirit still exists which i think is a good thing.
It works the same way at election time too and Mattie and his friends know it.
 
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Mushroom

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To be honest, I am not casting any judgement on the farmer or family, it's the behaviour of the politicians that I find troubling.
I'm equally concerned by the actions (or inaction) of the local gardai. Assuming that FF and its agents were acting in a lawful manner then the Garda Siochana should have assisted them, not instructed them to back off.
 

pippakin

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€60 per month on a €12,000 euro debt. Assuming no interest, that would take 200 months to clear, on HP. The tractor is already 12 years old.

To be honest, I am not casting any judgement on the farmer or family, it's the behaviour of the politicians that I find troubling.
I think the politicians do have a point on this. It is their job to speak for the people and this case does seem to be highlighting a very grey area where some banks/loan sharks may be operating with what might be calledl excessive zeal.
 

Radix

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To me the funniest thing in all of this is that the farmer in question 'remortgaged his tractor'.

And only for 80 grand...

You couldn't make it up Ted!
 

drummed

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To me the funniest thing in all of this is that the farmer in question 'remortgaged his tractor'.

And only for 80 grand...

You couldn't make it up Ted!
You work for a tractor dealership no doubt and are up to date on farm machinery valuations?

If not what in gods name are you talking about?
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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80k on a 2000 tractor bought in 2007? That sounds fishy for starters. Either its the worlds most expensive tractor or some serious interest charges have accrued.

Friends First are money lenders. Legal money lenders but money lenders nonetheless.
Buying a tractor via them does'nt make a lot of sense. I have'nt come across them personally but i have heard some negative reports regarding their, er..........customer relations.

I think the senators are perfectly entitled to highlight this matter as it is in the consumers interest. There has been a lot of trouble recently re farm machinery being taken by banks and similar. Regardless of the right and wrongs of the individual cases a lot of owners get very upset and some are armed. Many of those working for the bank are not pleasant people and sooner or later a serious incident is going to occur. A few close calls have already occured.
This whole area needs to be regulated cause right now it seems a wild west sort of system applies. If the farm has guns and enough help the machinery stays. Otherwise it goes. This is no way to operate for any of those concerned.
It was the manner in which the Senators raised it, drummed. They appeared to have scant regard for the facts and instead used language like stealing and crooks, and one accused the agents of making a death threat against a 16 year old. All of this is denied by Friends First. I would love it a link was available to it.

The Irish Times report says it was refinanced in 2007.
 

ShoutingIsLeadership

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I think the politicians do have a point on this. It is their job to speak for the people and this case does seem to be highlighting a very grey area where some banks/loan sharks may be operating with what might be calledl excessive zeal.
That would be fine, but they were ranting and flinging accusations in the Seanad.

McGrath is just a vote grabber.
 

emulator

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Various banks and other agencies are hiring some pretty shady companies/individuals as debt collectors.

It's an area the Government need to keep a close eye on as given our current situation, it's a growth industry.
 

Analyzer

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Friends First - Jim Power. Says it all really.

Pity the farmers didn't show up at HQ and run amok.

Or should that be run a muck.
 

pippakin

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That would be fine, but they were ranting and flinging accusations in the Seanad.

McGrath is just a vote grabber.
Playing to the gallery and maybe that's not a bad thing. If some banks or loan companies are behaving in a borderline illegal manner then it might be a rant is as good as a shot across the bows.
 

drummed

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It was the manner in which the Senators raised it, drummed. They appeared to have scant regard for the facts and instead used language like stealing and crooks, and one accused the agents of making a death threat against a 16 year old. All of this is denied by Friends First. I would love it a link was available to it.

The Irish Times report says it was refinanced in 2007.
I have little sympathy for these finance companies. The sort of people they employ to get back machinery usually have long criminal record themselves. I think the politicians are right to highlight the total lack of regulation in this area and the heavy handed approach taken by some. If it prevents a tragedy down the road so best.

Next someone will get killed at one of these farms and there'll be finger pointing to beat the band. You can't have it both ways.
 

drummed

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That would be fine, but they were ranting and flinging accusations in the Seanad.

McGrath is just a vote grabber.
I don't doubt he is. Such is the system we have. While we have it people will make the most of it.
The farmers did'nt create this electoral system.
 

redhead

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I have little sympathy for these finance companies. The sort of people they employ to get back machinery usually have long criminal record themselves. I think the politicians are right to highlight the total lack of regulation in this area and the heavy handed approach taken by some. If it prevents a tragedy down the road so best.

Next someone will get killed at one of these farms and there'll be finger pointing to beat the band. You can't have it both ways.
That wasn't you on the Late Late the other night was it?
 
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