Developer Gerry Barrett is fighting to stay in control of Galway's G Hotel

Barrett is seeking court protection from Deutsche Bank, to which he owes millions.

By Ray Managh

PARTIES IN A row between Deutsche Bank and a group of seven Galway firms, involving business debts of almost €700 million, have appealed and cross-appealed High Court orders on the future of the companies.

Last week Justice Tony O’Connor appointed an examiner to three companies connected with Galway city’s four-star Meyrick Hotel.

However, he refused court protection to four related companies involved in the operation of other Galway-based businesses including the Five Star G Hotel and the Eye Cinema.

Michael Cush SC, who appeared with Gary McCarthy SC on behalf of all of the Galway companies, told Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan in the Court of Appeal that his clients were challenging Judge O’Connor’s decision not to confirm the appointment of an examiner to four of the companies.

Paul Gallagher SC, who appeared with Neil Steen SC on behalf of Deutsche Bank, told the judge the bank would be appealing examinership of the trio of companies covered by Judge O’Connor’s decision and defending the High Court’s decision not to extend protection to the remaining four.

All seven companies are part of the Edward Capital Group controlled by businessman Gerry Barrett.

Deutsche Bank had opposed the examinership on the basis it was an abuse of process and a bid by the companies, over which they had appointed a receiver, to renege on a debt settlement agreement.

The settlement would have involved the sale of group assets to reduce its €698 million debt to the bank.

Stay on order

Last week Judge O’Connor, on the application of McCarthy, who appeared with barrister Ross Gorman, put a stay on his order refusing to extend examinership to the four companies covered by his decision.

The seven companies employ more than 330 full and part time staff and in August had insolvency practitioner Neil Hughes appointed as interim examiner.

The firm’s’ directors Gerry and Catherine Barrett, of Drimbawn House, Chestnut Lane, Lower Dangan, Galway, accepted the bank was owed €698 million and claimed that while they could service a certain level of the debt a large amount of what was owed could never be repaid.

Deutsche Bank acquired the group’s loan portfolio from NAMA in 2015 and its case was that an examiner could not better the settlement agreement the parties had reached in regard to the sale of assets which included the proposed sale of the Meyrick Hotel for €16.7 million.

Assets

Judge O’Connor had confirmed Mr Hughes as examiner to ML Meyrick Ltd., MT Mono Trading Ltd and Kitty Hall Holdings Limited.

He refused to allow Edward Leisure Assets; Niche Hotels; Style City Ltd and Radical Properties to remain in examinership.

The assets of these companies include the G Hotel, the Eye Cinema, 38 apartments, a retail park a house and sites in the Galway area.

Judge Finlay Geoghegan said the Court of Appeal would hear the parties’ statements and submissions early next week.

Ms Sally O’Neill, barrister for Revenue and Mr James Doherty SC for Examiner Hughes, will also be making submissions.

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