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Mount Wolseley seeks court protection

Friday, April 18 11:09:12

Mount Wolseley Hotel and Golf Resort, which owes various banks E60m, has asked the High Court for protection from its creditors long enough to put a rescue plan in place and save up to 175 jobs.

The High Court was told that the Tullow, Co Carlow, resort is currently worth only E5m to E6.5m.

The Morrisey family, which owns the resort, asked Mr Justice David Keane to appoint insolvency practitioner Ian Lawlor as Examiner to run and hopefully save the business as a going concern.

The resort is a popular wedding venue and comprises a 143-room hotel together with holiday homes, a leisure centre, spa and an 18 hole golf course designed by former Ryder Cup hero Christy O'Connor Jnr.

Bank of Ireland, which is owed about E28m by the resort's owners, has opposed the application, claiming the Examinership process has no reasonable prospect of securing the investment required to succeed.

BOI wants to appoint a receiver to sell the business.

Barrister Rossa Fanning, counsel for the bank, told the court that the application was an attempt by the Morrissey family " to sabotage" the bank's bid to appoint a receiver.

The judge is to rule on the application later this month.

Judge Keane heard that the resort owes various banks more than E60m, most of which had been borrowed during the Celtic Tiger era.

Property valuation experts estimated the resort as currently worth at most E6.5m.

Bernard Dunleavy, counsel for prospective examiner, said Mr Lawlor had received eight expressions of interest from potential investors, none of whom had any connection with the current owners.