Dena’s case prompted more to share vulture funds’ stories

April 20th, 2023 11:55 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Dena says people have cried with her over vulture funds.

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CLONAKILTY hoteliers Tom, Dena and Therese O’Donovan, have called for the formation of an advocacy group to protect customers in the clutches of vulture funds.

Independent TD Michael Collins – who raised the family’s difficulties in the Dáil – has also called for ‘a proper, thorough and independent investigation into all aspects of the O’Donovan case.’

The TD has also said that ‘one person – a named person – within each of these banks should be made accountable for customers trying to get answers.’ Since their story appeared in The Southern Star, Dena O’Donovan said: ‘We have been gobsmacked at the number of people who have made contact with us – we are talking about 30 or 40 a day.’

Dena said she has sat with people who cried openly about their dealings with vulture funds. 

‘People arrived in person – one man travelled a long distance to meet us and tell us his story. 

‘He had lost everything and is now working in a supermarket, at the age of 60, all because of one missed payment. ‘All of their stories were different, but they all were traumatised and victimised. Families have been broken up, and people have committed suicide over their dealings with the banks,’ she added.

‘One man told me he hasn’t the shirt on his back. And there is another commonality – a lot of people say they were too embarrassed and too ashamed to say they have been forced out of their homes or businesses.

‘We are in a better situation,’ said Dena, ‘because we have not blotted our copy book, financially, and we have also tried to engage with the bank to come to a resolution as quickly as possible.’ According to the hotelier, the lifting of the eviction ban continues to be one of the biggest stories in the news, but Tom, Therese and Dena say they don’t want their story to become a ‘seven-day wonder’.

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