Tuesday 17 September 2019

End game for Cork

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

THE end is nigh for Cork City after the High Court made an order for the winding-up of its holding company due to tax debts.

Owner, Tom Coughlan, insisted last night that all hope is not lost, but indicated he is not currently planning to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court meaning they must raise €100,000 by Friday in the hope that will be enough to convince the Revenue Commissioners to withdraw their petition, and avoid entering liquidation.

Ms Justice, Mary Laffoy, said that the company, Cork City Investments FC Limited, "is insolvent", but granted a postponement -- a stay -- until Friday which would leave a right to appeal.

However, the extension of the timeframe gives City a final chance to work out an agreement with the Revenue, who refused to negotiate on a settlement of anything less than half of Cork's €439,000 tax bill up front with the rest paid off in four instalments.

The Leesiders came to court with €120,000, and cited the sales of Denis Behan and Colin Healy as evidence they were working hard to reduce their debt, with counsel Rossa Fanning BL asking Justice Laffoy to consider the valuable role the club played in the community.

While acknowledging the important role the club plays in Cork the judge said she had "no choice but to make an order winding up the company."

She refused a request by the club to use her discretion and impose a scheme which would allow the club pay off its debts to Revenue -- by paying €24,476 per month over a 12 month period.

The club was taken out of examinership last October after a scheme of survival was approved by the High Court under which significant investment was promised. Creditors, including the Revenue, were also to receive a percentage of the money owed to them.

The Revenue claimed it has received only part of dividend monies and other taxes due to it under the survival scheme and, in those circumstances, sought a winding up order.

Two weeks ago, Ms Justice Laffoy gave one final adjournment to allow the company come up with a proposal to pay the money owed to Revenue.

However, counsel for the Revenue, Dermot Cahill Bl, said that unfortunately no agreement had been reached, arguing that Revenue had an obligation to treat all taxpayers the same.

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