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Sunday 22 October 2017

Landlords of insolvent golf club vow to keep course open

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

THE landlords of a popular golf club have vowed to keep it open after the company which leased the course became insolvent.

South County Golf Club in Brittas, Co Dublin, had been in operation since 2002 but the directors last week said they had no option but to cease operations, citing "extremely difficult market conditions".

The company, which leased the 190 acres site from brothers John and Patrick Kavanagh, have an outstanding loan of about €2m.

John Kavanagh told the Irish Independent the course was being kept opened and he hoped the bar and restaurant would be up and running again within a week.

But the future of the pro-shop run by PGA professional Raymie Burns is uncertain.

Mr Kavanagh said members would have to pay €10 to play to cover the cost of maintenance, stating the landlords did not have access to the membership fees that have been paid. He said insurance was in place.

"It's quite a shock for this to happen but we're going to try and keep it open for the members and have visiting players as well," Mr Kavanagh said.

But the club's board said the actions of the landlords in keeping the course open "have the potential to hamper the orderly wind-up of the business".

Mr Kavanagh disputed the claim. "To me that sounds ridiculous. We're looking after our asset the best way we can."

Mr Kavanagh said he and his brother were owed about €100,000 in unpaid rent.

Board chairman Thomas Fahey declined to comment when contacted yesterday.

But in a statement the board said it presented a five-year business plan to Allied Irish Banks (AIB) earlier this year but support was based on the retention and growth of membership.

It said it had been paying about 80pc of its annual rental fee for the last few months. Mr Kavanagh said that had recently fallen to 50pc.

Wages

The board said that earlier this month the landlords had informed the company that they were instigating procedures to reclaim their land.

"In parallel, the full picture in terms of annual membership renewals only became known late last week when the final day for annual shareholder members renewals fell due," the board said.

"Unfortunately, approximately 60 shareholder members did not renew. This caused a significant financial gap and meant that bills and wages that were falling due could not be paid."

Mr Kavanagh last night accused the company of moving out "overnight" without notifying him of their actions. He said the employees of the restaurant and bar had been made redundant when the club ceased operations, but he said it had not been decided whether to re-employ them.

Club captain Michael Moore said the landlords are holding a meeting tomorrow night and on Wednesday he will have a meeting with the members of the club.

Irish Independent

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