Hugh Reynolds, a farmer in Coole, Co Westmeath, is preparing to fight the proposed sale of his farm by so-called vulture fund Cerberus.
Negotiations have been ongoing between the farmer and Cerberus for several months, with the 44-acre farm appearing for sale on the online auction site BidX1 on several occasions.
“I believe I’ve made a more than reasonable offer to buy back the land but they’ve refused point blank,” Reynolds told the Irish Farmers Journal.
“They’re after putting it up and taking it down a few times now,” the distressed farmer said, explaining that the situation was made worse by the cat-and-mouse game that the vulture fund seemed to be playing.
I’ve made a more than reasonable offer to buy back the land
“It’s good-quality land but they had it up at a guide price of €5,000/ac, which is ridiculous.
“They’ve also advertised it as ‘vacant possession’ but I have a tenant on the land.
“I just want to get the message out there that this would be a forced sale of land,” he said.
Previous research carried out by the Irish Farmers Journal shows that up to 194ac of land in Co Westmeath is controlled by vulture funds.
The land is due to go up for auction next Thursday. Bidders on the online auction site have the option to remain completely anonymous and land sold under auction is subject to an immediate binding contract.
Farm organisations have stood firm on the issue of forced land sales and have called on vulture funds to stop such practices.
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