Court appoints first woman examiner to restaurant business

Baker Tilly accountant works in insolvency and has expertise in hospitality sector

Jeni Glasgow and Reuven Diaz of Eastern Seaboard restaurant and Brown Hound Bakery in Drogheda, where Baker Tilly accountant Sarah Jane O’Keeffe has just been appointed as interim examiner. Photograph: Barry Cronin

Jeni Glasgow and Reuven Diaz of Eastern Seaboard restaurant and Brown Hound Bakery in Drogheda, where Baker Tilly accountant Sarah Jane O’Keeffe has just been appointed as interim examiner. Photograph: Barry Cronin

 

Accountant Sarah Jane O’Keeffe became the Republic’s first female examiner yesterday when the courts appointed her to the high-profile Eastern Seaboard restaurant and bakery in Drogheda, Co Louth, where 43 jobs are at stake.

Her appointment came just a day after Mr Justice Robert Haughton complained in the High Court that no female examiner had ever been appointed since the Oireachtas passed the law designed to rescue troubled companies in 1990.

Sitting at Trim Circuit Court, Judge Martina Baxter appointed Ms O’Keeffe, an insolvency specialist with Dublin firm Baker Tilly, on an interim basis, to the Eastern Seaboard Bar and Grill Ltd and Eastern Seaboard Industries Ltd. which are in financial trouble.

The companies control the Eastern Seaboard Bar Restaurant and a coffee shop and bakery, which are popular venues in Drogheda owned by Reuven Diaz and Jennifer Glasgow.

Eastern Sea Board Bar and Grill Ltd employs 24 people while Eastern Sea Board Industries has 19 workers.

Rescue plan

If the court confirms her appointment in the coming weeks, Ms O’Keeffe will have up to 100 days to devise a rescue plan designed to save the businesses and the jobs. The companies will have court protection from creditors during that time.

Ms O’Keeffe has been with Baker Tilly for more than five years. She focuses on insolvency, and has particular expertise in dealing with financially troubled hospitality businesses.

She worked on the examinership of Katie Daly’s Bar and Restaurant in Gorey, Co Wexford, where 50 jobs were saved. Ms O’Keeffe was shortlisted for Accountant of the Year 2018 at the Irish Early Career Awards.

Earlier this week, Mr Justice Haughton said a “prize awaits” the first law firm to nominate a woman as an examiner. The judge said he wanted to strongly encourage the nomination of women as court-appointed liquidators and examiners.

Solicitor Barry Lyons and barrister Ross Gorman, acting for Eastern Seaboard, nominated Ms O’Keeffe.