Wednesday 13 December 2017

Receivers appointed to family-feud pub Coman's

Coman's of Rathgar. Photo: Tony Gavin
Coman's of Rathgar. Photo: Tony Gavin

RONALD QUINLAN Special Correspondent

COMAN'S of Rathgar has been the talk of the town in the past thanks to a bitter family feud that pitched its elderly owners against five of their sons.

This weekend, the south Dublin hostelry is all the talk yet again among the chattering classes in Dublin 6 and beyond following the appointment of Ernst & Young as receivers to the business by AIB.

The Sunday Independent understands staff at the hugely popular pub were informed of the move when they showed up for work last Friday.

News of the receivership spread quickly among locals, fuelling speculation in relation to the future of the business.

Thankfully, those fears have proved to be unfounded and the pub was open for business yesterday.

Asked by the Sunday Independent what the plans are for the business now, a representative for the receiver said Coman's was a thriving business and would continue to trade as a going concern with all 25 staff retaining their jobs.

While the pub itself remains open, there is some confusion in relation to the operation of the car park located to the rear of the premises.

Yesterday afternoon, the facility was closed as two carpenters erected wooden hoardings preventing access to it from the pub's back doors. The entrance to the car park itself, meanwhile, was padlocked.

Asked what the situation was in relation to the car park, the individual representing the receiver said he wasn't in a position to comment on the matter.

Coman's has been a favoured venue among the residents of Rathgar and the surrounding suburbs since it was first opened by Tipperary couple, Patrick and Mary Coman, in 1958.

The pub and its owners hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2004, however, when differences between the Comans and five of their six sons, in relation to an alleged agreement over the future of the companies behind their business, ended up in the High Court.

While the main thrust of those proceedings dealt with the claim by Geoffrey, John, Patrick Jr, Thomas and Denis Coman that a February 2003 agreement involved their parents resigning immediately as directors of the companies and being paid €7m for their shareholding, Mr and Mrs Coman maintained there was no concluded agreement.

Counsel for the sons said the disputed agreement was secured because the parties wanted a "complete break" from each other "in business and, regrettably, in personal terms".

The High Court heard how the dispute within the family had been going on for many years and that it had become increasingly bitter in the lead up to the attempted 2003 settlement.

Indeed, such had been the ill-feeling between the parties, the parents had made serious allegations against some of their sons and made formal complaints to gardai. The feud was highly personalised the court was told.

Ultimately, the dispute was settled out of court in August 2004 after five days of hearings before Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan. The terms of the deal were never revealed.

Sunday Independent

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