THE former owners of a "world-renowned" Irish seafood pub are being pursued by AIB for over €19m in unpaid loans.
Moran's On The Weir -- or Moran's Oyster Cottage -- is one of Galway's most famous pubs. At over 250 years old, the historic thatched cottage attracts visitors from all over the globe and its website boasts of being "renowned the world over for its superb seafood".
Actors Brian Dennehy, Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore, golfers Christy O'Connor Jnr and Tom Watson, and former Irish football managers Jack Charlton and Mick McCarthy have all been pictured enjoying a meal at the restaurant.
But property investor William Moran and his wife Sheila, of The Weir, Kilcolgan, Co Galway, are being pursued through the courts by AIB for €19.4m.
A previous agreement between the Morans and the bank, regarding their financial commitments, revolved around their handing over proceeds of the sale of the pub.
The bank claims it understood a €1.25m sum would be realised from the sale of Morans On The Weir but had later learned that sale was completed without the bank receiving any of the proceeds.
In separate proceedings, the couple and their son, Michael Moran, are challenging the bank's appointment in March of receivers over some 24 properties of theirs.
Both sets of proceedings were transferred to the Commercial Court yesterday.
In the banks' action, it claims the couple's liabilities arise from a loan agreement of August 2010, another agreement of June 2010 made between the bank, the couple and Michael Moran, and from a series of mortgage loan agreements.
The bank expected the couple to either refinance an office block in Grudnia, Poland, or give the bank the sale proceeds of that, it said.
The bank said the couple were also to remit to it the proceeds of the sale of the pub.
The bank learned in August 2011 that shares in a Polish company, Grudnia Investments SP ZOO, had been transferred to their son Donal Moran.
In their action against AIB, AIB Mortgage Bank and receiver Jim Luby, the couple and their son Michael want orders restraining Mr Luby carrying out his functions.
In an affidavit, William Moran said he had engaged in investment property for over 25 years and was a property investor since the 1980s, "far before the 'Celtic Tiger' years".
He said they had substantial indebtedness to AIB which had purported to appoint Mr Luby as receiver. The deeds of appointment were "extremely vague" and made no reference to the bank's entitlement to make that appointment, he said.