Tuesday 21 January 2020

Former Irish international footballer Niall Quinn is one of two investors to save hotel

Niall Quinn is one of two investors who have come to the financial rescue of Lawlor’s Hotel, in Poplar Square, Naas, Co Kildare

Niall Quinn
Niall Quinn

By Ray Managh

Former Irish international footballer and entrepreneur Niall Quinn is one of two investors who have come to the financial rescue of Lawlor’s Hotel, in Poplar Square, Naas, Co Kildare, the High Court heard today.

The court today approved a rescue plan for a trio of companies including Craigfort Taverns, owners of the Killashee Hotel and Spa outside Naas;  Marchford  Limited, which owns Lawlors, and Killashee Schools Company Limited, which owns the 25-acre grounds of the Killashee Hotel.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton heard that Mr Quinn, as well as Kilcullen Bakery, had made available €2,247million to fund a scheme of financial recovery for Marchford, trading as Lawlors.

In April last the High Court granted Craigfort Taverns, Marchford and Killashee Schools Company emergency protection from their creditors following fears that NAMA was about to appoint Receivers.

In May Mr Justice Peter Charleton approved the protection of the companies, which employ 260 workers, and appointed Kieran Wallace, of KPMG as Examiner to prepare schemes of arrangement for the survival of the three companies.

Judge Charleton refused protection for Faxhill Homes Ltd., a property holding company owned by Co Kildare builder John Tierney, and parent company to Lawlors, Killashee Hotel and Spa and Killashee Schools.

At the time Faxhill Homes owed €77 million to NAMA which opposed protection for it.  NAMA had adopted a neutral position on examinership for the other three companies.

Niall Quinn was formerly an investor in the 141 bedroomed Killashee and Mr Tierney was a member of the eight-man consortium led by Quinn that took control of Sunderland football club in 2006.

Mr Tierney figured prominently in the McCracken tribunal inquiry into the affairs of former Fine Gael minister Michael Lowry and former supermarket chief Ben Dunne, after it emerged Faxhill had done building work on the homes of both men.

The scheme of arrangement for the continued operation of the three companies was presented to and approved by the High Court today (Tues) and will come into operation from Thursday next at noon.

The court heard the companies had previously been grossly insolvent, dragged down by crippling direct and indirect bank debts.  Following Mr Wallace’s examinership NAMA had been taken out of the picture their future had been secured by investment.

Counsel for Mr Wallace said the companies, which had continued trading throughout the examinership, now had a clean bill of health with a future that was “overwhelmingly promising.”

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