Volvo race organisers owe firms €400,000
A BUSINESSMAN who has been left with a bill of €10,000 from the Volvo Ocean Race finale has warned that it could send his company to the wall.
Up to €400,000 remains owed to suppliers following the Volvo Ocean Race finale in Galway during the summer.
Now some of the 40 or so suppliers are demanding immediate payment.
Finale organisers Let's Do It Global are seeking government assistance to pay off some of the money owed.
They said they had been promised donations from various businesses. However, some of these pledges have failed to materialise and this has left them unable to pay suppliers.
Alan Collins, owner of Exhibit A Displays in Tralee, Co Kerry, supplied exhibition stands to the sailing festival.
However, despite several trips to Galway and many telephone calls and emails, he has yet to receive payment.
"This is just a crazy amount of money to us. We did the job well and everything was perfect but we shouldn't still have to wait for three months," he said.
Mr Collins, whose firm employs 10 people, was so frustrated in his attempts to receive payment that he printed a 25ft-wide trailer sign, reading; "Shame on you Let's Do it Global", which he parked outside the organisers' offices last week.
"It's a huge amount for us, what with the way things are at the moment.
"I've written to them and told them that this is causing me great difficulty at the moment but it's very difficult to get them on the phone. I've gone to Galway four times looking for the money and I've got nothing," he added.
Another creditor who doesn't wish to be named said he was owed around €40,000.
"It's a lot of money for us but we're working with them. They've promised us they are not walking away from this and they are trying to resolve it.
"We feel that our best bet is to try and work with them," he added.
Micheline McNamara, for Let's Do it Global, said they were doing their utmost to collect all pledged donations to pay creditors.
"We are having difficulty in collecting funds which were promised to the organisation ahead of the event.
They are telling us they will pay us but the process is taking a lot longer than expected," she said.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport said the Volvo Ocean Race had received the single largest grant from Failte Ireland for an event this year -- more than double the funding provided to all other major international events.
"The department is not in a position to allocate additional resources to Failte Ireland for events this year in order to provide further funding on top of the €4m already allocated.
"The department did receive a request from Let's Do It Global shortly after the festival.
"The company was informed that additional funding was not available.
"No further request has been received," she added.