Business Irish

Wednesday 29 March 2017

NAMA board member is a director of troubled Aran Link

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

A NAMA board member is among the directors of troubled Galway ferry business, Aran Link, which has been taken into receivership over unpaid debts.



Receivers have taken control of the Galway-based company after it was unable to meet bills for work done on the 300-seater vessel 'Aran Princess' at a boat-yard in Norway.

Accountants Michael McAteer and Aengus Burns of Grant Thornton have now been appointed as receivers by Czech-based Dieselworx s.r.o.

The Dieselworx engineering business had a fixed charge over the vessel, giving it the right to take control of the asset.

The Aran Princess was supposed to be at the heart of a new fast passenger ferry service between Galway and Kilronan on Inishmore.

The high-speed catamaran was bought in the US in 2008 and shipped to Norway to be refitted but it never made it Galway and will now be auctioned off to help settle debts.

Receivers were appointed after an earlier effort to rescue the business was unable to turn things around.

Insolvency

Limerick-based accountant Brian McEnery, a director of NAMA, was listed as a director of Aran Link, until receivers took control of the business.

As well as his role overseeing toxic debt agency NAMA, Mr McEnery is a partner at Horwath Bastow Charleton.

He is a specialist in insolvency and acts as a liquidator in his own right.

He is understood to have been appointed to the board of Aran Link by a group of investors only after things started to go wrong at the business.

Mr McEnery, Con Quigley and Ger Blake, all of Horwath Bastow Charlton, were appointed to the board of Aran Link in May 2011.

This latest news is bad news for tourism in the west. Aran Link is the second Aran ferry company to go into receivership in just two years following the collapse of Aran Direct in 2010.

In March last year, Aran Direct's receivers sold two modern passenger vessels -- the Clann Eagle I and Clann na nOileáin -- that had been in service on routes between Galway and the Aran Islands.

The boats were sold for more than €1m to an operator based in Mauritius, the high-end tourism destination in the Indian Ocean.

Both vessels have now been shipped to Mauritius.

Irish Independent

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