Tuesday 28 February 2017

Frantic creditors vent their anger at meeting

Shane Phelan and Donal O'Donovan

THE length of the list of creditors owed money by Jim Mansfield's company HSS is simply breathtaking.

It reads like a who's who of goods and services suppliers in the greater Dublin area, many of whom are reeling from the failure of HSS to pay its debts.

Money is owed to 418 companies, groups and individuals for a myriad of services.

Those stiffed by HSS include banks, advertising firms, balloon makers, snack food companies, chainsaw manufacturers, political parties, sporting associations, greengrocers, and even a Ryder Cup winning golfer.

Many of them told similar stories at yesterday's creditors meeting. One supplier asked had HSS ever paid its debts within the usual 28-day deadline. The answer received from the creditors packed into the hall in Dublin's Citywest Hotel was a chorus of "no, no, no".

Inconsolable

A creditor, whose frozen foods business is owed €40,000, was inconsolable. "We are in serious financial difficulties because you used our products and didn't pay," she said, before asking the company directors how they could sleep at night.

Devastated local suppliers told the meeting that they were dealt a double blow when a receiver took over last year and changed suppliers to the hotel.

Because of this, they had lost out on the double, they said.

The golfer on the creditors list, Christy O'Connor Jnr, is owed €1.4m.

He didn't attend yesterday's fractious meeting as he was playing an exhibition match in Portugal. Perhaps, like many creditors, he had already had enough of the false promises that payment was on the way.

Another creditor which experienced less than usual practices in its dealings with HSS was communications company Carat, which is owed over €125,000. "When we went looking for money they would promise to pay. Cheques would arrive in, but they just bounced," said a spokesman.

Among other companies owed cash were Guinness and Heineken, owed €10,400 and €27,700 respectively.

RTE never received €12,100 owed to it for advertising, while a host of other radio outlets also went unpaid.

Even some of the country's oldest institutions, the GAA, and political parties Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, weren't immune.

Irish Independent

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