Mansfield will accept appointment of receiver to Citywest complex


BUSINESSMAN JIM Mansfield is believed to have decided not to contest the appointment of a receiver to his Citywest hotel and leisure complex this week in order to keep alive a potentially lucrative deal to establish an English language school there for students from Saudi Arabia.

The language school is thought to involve education and residential facilities, and a five-year contract worth more than €100 million.

On Tuesday, Bank of Scotland (Ireland) appointed Martin Ferris as receiver to HSS, which controls the Citywest complex in Saggart, and a property company called Jeffel. The bank is owed more than €170 million.

Dalata Ltd, a hotel operating company run by former Jurys Doyle chief executive Pat McCann, has been appointed to operate the Citywest facilities, which include 1,712 bedrooms, a golf course and conference and exhibition facilities.

The bank subsequently appointed Mr Ferris as receiver to Mr Mansfield’s Finnstown Country House hotel in Lucan, west Dublin. Dalata is also operating this facility.

Speculation mounted that Mr Mansfield would seek to have an examiner appointed to these businesses in a bid to try and retain control of the companies. This would have afforded him protection from creditors while a rescue plan was formulated. But the deadline for such a move in relation to Citywest expired yesterday.

The veteran businessman, who built Citywest from scratch over the past decade or so, met Minister of State for Science and local TD Conor Lenihan yesterday at his home in Saggart.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Lenihan described Mr Mansfield as being in “good form”.

He said Citywest was a “very viable business” with a “highly skilled workforce”.

The company employs 400 full-time staff from the local area. “They are depending on this business and its future viability,” Mr Lenihan said.

He described the relationship between Mr Mansfield and the receiver as “very cordial”.

“The receiver is working very closely with Jim and his management team to ensure that the jobs are protected here.”

The Minister said Citywest was a “business with a number of opportunities on the horizon”.

“There has been interest in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia, in particular, and there is huge potential to that particular investment for the business,” Mr Lenihan said. “That has to be taken into consideration in any discussions between the receiver, Mr Mansfield and Bank of Scotland.”

Citywest has played host to Fianna Fáil ardfheisheanna and numerous GAA functions in recent years.