Thursday 27 November 2014

Quarry firm's staff stage sit-in as survival plan fails

Allison Bray and Tim Healy

Published 01/08/2014 | 02:30

Cantor Fitzgerald is upgrading forecasts for Allied Irish Bank.
Cantor Fitzgerald is upgrading forecasts for Allied Irish Bank.

Employees of a long-established quarry company have barricaded themselves inside overnight after the company announced it is go into receivership after a survival plan failed.

It's understood that scores of staff at Carlow-based Dan Morrissey Irl Ltd were refusing to leave the premises after the High Court heard that the company is no longer viable.

Local councillor John Pender told the Irish Independent last night: "It's a devastating blow. Everyone was hoping for a resolution. Morrisseys has been such a big part of the community."

The concrete and quarrying concern in Bennekerry outside Carlow town has been operating since the 1930s.

Officials from the company could not be reached for comment last night.

The firm made headlines six years ago when 16 workers won nearly €19m in the Lotto.

Last month it successfully obtained a court order removing bank-appointed receivers and appointing an interim examiner so that restructuring efforts to save the company and its 131 jobs could be made.

AIB is owed nearly €27m by the company and had appointed joint receivers.

But after they were removed by the court and an examiner appointed, the bank said it was provisionally not opposing the examiner's efforts to come up with a survival plan.

Yesterday the court heard in an affidavit from examiner Brian McEnery that AIB had refused to support his survival plan as it was no longer prepared to provide the necessary finance for a viable arrangement. In those circumstances, Mr McEnery could not recommend that the examinership period be extended.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said this was "an unfortunate situation" and there was no criticism of AIB, or of Bank of Ireland, which had offered some finance to restructure the existing debt.

Proposals

However, as AIB was not prepared to accept the latest proposals, the judge agreed to an application from Rossa Fanning BL, for AIB, that the examiner be discharged and the appointment of the original receivers, Stephen Tennant and Paul McCann, of Grant Thornton, be reanimated.

After Lyndon MacCann SC, for the examiner, said it was hoped that it would now be a trading receivership so as many jobs as possible could be saved, Mr Fanning, for the bank, said he wished to make it clear that this would "not necessarily" be a "trading" receivership but an ordinary receivership.

Bernard Dunleavy BL, for the company, said it was disappointing and "hard news" from the point of view of the company, its shareholders and employees but they accepted the examiner had done his best.

Irish Independent

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