Saturday 10 December 2016

'Irish TV' secures court protection after 'unexpected' funding shortfall

Tim Healy

Published 10/11/2016 | 15:53

John Griffin with Pierce O’Reilly of Irish TV
John Griffin with Pierce O’Reilly of Irish TV

A TELEVISION company in Co Mayo employing 30 people has obtained High Court protection after an unexpected funding shortfall and liabilities over assets of €8.7m.

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Telifis Mhaigh Eo Teoranta, trading as "Irish TV", operates from Westport Industrial Park in Co Mayo and broadcasts a 24-hour channel on Sky, Eir and free-to-air services as well as an on-line video on demand service.  

When established in March 2011, it objects included to promote Mayo as a centre of Irish and Celtic culture and also to promote the Irish language.

It is a subsidiary of Eochair Media Holdings Ltd (EMHL) which, it said in its petition seeking court protection, has "encountered an unexpected and significant funding shortfall."

Co-founder and chief executive, Piaras O'Reilly, and managing director, Mairead O'Reilly, together own 51 per cent of EMHL while John Griffin has the other major shareholding (41 per cent).  Mr Griffin resigned as a director of both EMHL and Telifis Maigh Eo on October 27 last.

In its petition seeking court protection, Irish TV said it has been left with an immediate operational cash flow shortfall after the main funder withdrew support in late October.

This followed four years of losses and it now has net liabilities of €8.7m.

Other reasons for its difficulties included the fact it was not in a position to fund RTE's security requirements for accessing the Saorview platform.    The Brexit decision has affected advertising revenue, it says.

An independent expert's report has found the deficiency between assets and liabilities has been satisfactorily accounted for and is due to the accumulated losses of the last four years.

The report says however that if a number of steps are taken it has a reasonable prospect of survival.  These include thre closure of offices in New York, London, Dublin, Tyrone and Kerry, the implementation of a redundancy programme for certain employees, and reduced travel costs and expenses across all depatments.

Ms Justice Marie Baker was satisfied to appoint Michael McAteer as interim examiner.

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