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McElhinney store may be forced to shut doors

A WELL-known women's fashion store in Athboy, Co Meath, faces closure with the loss of 40 jobs if a bank appointed receiver secures possession of the premises, the High Court has heard.

Last March, Bank of Ireland appointed Barry Forrest as receiver over McElhinney's department store, McElhinney's Bridal Shop as well as another property known as Guinans, all of which are on Main Street.

The move came after the owners, various members of the Sweeney family, failed to repay loans of €2.34m.

Earlier this week, lawyers for the receiver got court permission to seek injunctions granting Mr Forrest possession of the properties after he and his agents were denied entry.


The injunction proceedings are against McElhinney Fashions Limited, which operates the business, as well as owners Neal Sweeney, Aonghus Sweeney, Elizabeth Sweeney and Mary Sweeney.

Neal Sweeney, who is the general manager of the stores, has brought related proceedings challenging the validity of the receiver's appointment by the bank.

The matter was before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan yesterday, who was told by Neal Sweeney the stores will have to close after 78 years in business.

He said all 40 employees at the store will lose their jobs if the receiver is granted possession.

He asked that the matter be adjourned so he could obtain legal advice. The judge adjourned the receiver's application for a week.