Court defers McElhinney committals on investment

Investment could save 29 jobs, court hears, as directors face enforcement action from receivers

 

A proposed investment could secure 29 jobs at well-known fashion outlet McElhinney’s of Athboy, Co Meath, the High Court was told Wednesday.

Mr Justice Donald Binchy agreed to adjourn an application by Bank of Ireland appointed receiver Barry Forrest seeking to have members of the Sweeney family, which operates committed to prison for their alleged failure to comply with an agreement they had entered into last October.

The motion for attachment and committal of Neal Sweeney, the store’s general manager and the directors of McElhinney Fashion Ltd, is being contested.

The court was told the parties were prepared to have the proceedings put back for several weeks to see if a proposed third party investor was prepared to come forward with a sum of €600,000 to purchase the fashion outlet’s premises in Athboy. In the meantime, the store will continue trading.

Mr Justice Binchy, who adjourned the application until the new law term in October, said that if no evidence of the proposed investment was provided to the receiver and Bank of Ireland by then, the applications for attachment and committal could proceed.

Last year, the receiver sought possession orders in relation to three premises – McElhinney’s Department Store, McElhinney’s Bridal Shop and a property known as Guinans – all located at Main Street, Athboy.

Mr Forrest was appointed in March 2013, by the bank after the owners of the properties, which had been put up as security, failed to repay €2.34 million owed to the bank.

Last October, the High Court was told the matter had been resolved as part of an agreement in which the owners of the business agreed to hand over possession of three properties sought by the bank.

The court heard Mr Forrest had been unable to secure peaceful possession of the property and had brought a motion seeking to have Mr Sweeney and the directors of McElhinney Fashion Ltd attached and committed to prison.

That application, should it proceed next month, will be contested by the former owners of the companies..