Regina Doherty: 'Company's failure taught me more than all of my successes'
Small family-owned businesses are the backbone of our economy and society as without them we would not have the local pub, restaurant, coffee shop, activity centre, petrol station, landscaper, farmer and so on.
We depend on these businesses to provide much needed products and services to enhance our lives and to provide employment.
Sometimes things go wrong. In 2009 I was a director of a company that ceased trading. I want to explain the facts of how that came about. The name of that company was Enhanced Solutions and we bought and sold surplus IT components.
Due to a variety of factors 2009 was a very hard year for the company; a downturn in business, the discontinuation of high value stock holding, debts owed to us and probably my refusal to accept it earlier. We, like many other small family-run businesses, suffered as a result.
I couldn't afford to liquidate the company then, as we were existing week to week. When I was elected to Dáil Éireann in 2011 I was in the fortunate position of being able to liquidate the company in an orderly fashion and in accordance with company law.
There was an outstanding directors' loan of €37,000 which was repaid to the company before the liquidation. A receiver was appointed and he proceeded to hold creditors' meetings and liquidate the company.
Creditors were offered whatever stock was available to be returned to them to settle outstanding debts, other companies took the route of claiming on their insurance policies.
There were a number of debtors, a complete list of which is publicly available from the liquidators' report, one of which was AIB for €50,000 and the other to Revenue for €59,000.
We took out a loan to repay AIB, which will take many years to clear but I am fortunate enough to be able to do this.
The company VAT liability to Revenue was partially written off against VAT owed to the company and the remainder as part of the liquidation process.
I have received a tax-clearance certificate from the Revenue Commissioner after I was elected in 2011 and every year since.
I have been a director of many companies over the years and I can safely say I learned more from the failure of one than the success of all of the others combined.
I am happy to clarify the facts as some people have unfortunately sought to misrepresent them, particularly since I was appointed Chief Whip.
I believe, for what it's worth, that this experience allows me to understand the difficulties which tens of thousands of families in Ireland have and are going through. Especially at that critical point where your professional and personal lives connect.
In closing I have to say that I am very grateful to my family and friends who supported us then and now.
I am a stronger person for it.