Owner of bust holiday firm still running travel business
THE owner of a travel company that went bust owing families and landlords almost €500,000 is continuing to run a holiday business.
Furious customers of Self Catering Ireland, which ceased trading three weeks ago, have demanded to know if any money they paid for holiday lettings has benefited another booking company, Just Go Ltd, which continues to trade.
Wexford businesswoman Mary Power, who until recently presented a holiday advice slot on TV3, is the owner of both firms.
Documents obtained by the Irish Independent reveal that 386 customers are owed €462,500 in "letting-related" debt by Power Holiday Management Ltd, trading as Self Catering Ireland, which ceased trading on July 19.
This includes hundreds of families who had booked holiday rentals with the company, as well as landlords and property-management companies for the properties being rented out via the website selfcatering.ie.
The average sum owed is around €1,200 and some customers say they were urged to pay the full balance just days before the company went out of business.
Despite the collapse of her 14-year-old business, which officially went into liquidation last Wednesday, Ms Power is continuing to operate a separate holiday-rental business.
Companies Office records list Just Go as a "holiday rental company selling self-catering, hotels, B&B, guesthouses accommodation plus flights, car hire and any other tourism activity through the internet or in a call centre".
The company was set up in 2009, with Mary Power and her husband, Thomas Power, listed as its directors.
The company address is listed as The Old School, Kilrane, Rosslare Harbour, Co Wexford, the same address given for Self Catering Ireland.
Its website, justgo.ie, offers an array of special offers, including self-catering and spa breaks.
There were angry scenes at a creditors' meeting of Self Catering Ireland at the Rhu Glenn Hotel, Slieverue, Co Kilkenny, last Wednesday, sources said.
Ms Power presented a statement of affairs showing the firm owed a total of €1.445m to unsecured creditors, including €622,707 to its directors.
Suppliers, including Eircom, ESB and Google, were owed another €59,408 on top of the €462,500 owed to holiday-rental customers and landlords, while Just Go Ltd was owed €56,600.
Customers queried the financial links between the companies Self Catering and Just Go and called on the liquidator to investigate transactions between them.
They also wanted to know if a €500,000 software system developed by the insolvent company was now being used by Just Go, but Ms Power denied this and said they used separate systems.
Ms Power told the meeting the two companies had no relationship, but Just Go had loaned Self Catering money to fund losses during 2011 and 2012.
She said her self-catering company was set up in 1998 and had expanded to cover 700 hotels and 3,000 holiday homes with a peak turnover of €1.7m in 2008.
Company records list Mary Power and her husband Thomas as directors of Self Catering Ireland.
Ms Power did not respond to requests by the Irish Independent for a comment on her business affairs.