Following a period of uncertainty over 180 jobs have been secured in Wexford town after the company behind The Riverbank House Hotel and The Centenary Stores emerged from examinership last week.
Real Bars Ltd, owned by well-known local businessman Michael Tierney and his wife Adrienne, entered examinership back in December. While both the iconic nightclub and hotel were trading profitably, the company debt - a legacy debt dating back to pre-recession times - was higher than the value of the company, resulting in them seeking the protection of the courts.
Investment in the business has now been secured and Mr Tierney returned to the High Court last week where a plan was put forward by Mr Joe Walsh of JW Accountants in Dublin. The sitting judge praised the examiner for the professional manner in which he conducted the process and there was a sigh of relief as the popular Wexford businesses now seek to put this episode behind them and continue to operate as normal.
Ever since the company went into examinership in December, Mr Tierney has been overwhelmed with the level of support he has received from the community in Wexford. At one point, Mayor Tony Dempsey even sought a meeting with Mr Tierney to see if there was any way that the council could offer support.
Speaking on behalf of Mr Tierney, General Manager at The Riverbank House Hotel Colm Campbell said: 'The examiner really did a great job. It's come as a massive relief to everyone. The support we've received from the people of Wexford in the past couple of months has been unprecedented. Our customers, staff and suppliers have all been amazing and we are overwhelmed by the level of good will out there for us. It's been quite emotional at times.'
Coincidentally, the positive news comes as Mr Tierney celebrates 20 years ownership of The Riverbank House Hotel.
'It's 20 years at The Riverbank this week and then Michael has had The Stores for 30 years,' Mr Campbell explained. 'We've been 30 years serving the people of Wexford and now we're hopeful that we can continue to welcome our customers with the same smiling faces for another 30 years to come!'
It is understood that the new investors in the business will be taking very much a background role and will have little or nothing to do with the day-to-day operations of the hotel and nightclub. The news of the company's emergence from financial difficulty is a major boost for the local economy with both businesses providing significant employment within the town.