High Court appoints examiner to Dublin bar and restaurant

Copper Bar & Grill had sought examinership after experiencing cash-flow difficulties

The High Court has confirmed the appointment of an examiner to a south Dublin bar and restaurant employing 29 people. Mr Justice Brian McGovern confirmed Joseph Walsh, of Hughes Blake chartered accountants, as examiner of Copper Bar & Grill Ltd, Blackthorn Road, Beacon South Quarter, Sandyford.

It began trading last year from a 10,000sq ft premises containing a bar, two restaurants and a function room.

The company sought examinership after experiencing cash-flow difficulties, the court was told. A report from an independent accountant expressed the opinion the company had a reasonable prospect of survival on conditions including procuring fresh investment and approval of a survival scheme.

TV chef Lee Bradshaw objected to the application, arguing the examinership process was an attempt to avoid paying some costs awarded in Mr Bradshaw’s favour arising from his High Court bid for injunctions preventing termination of his employment or an alleged partnership agreement concerning Copper Bar and Grill.

The High Court made a partial costs order in favour of Mr Bradshaw, stating he was entitled to costs of one day of the three-day longproceedings. His lawyers sought costs of €126,000.

Ross Gorman denied Mr Bradshaw’s claims about the motivation for the company’s application and said no evidence was put before the court to support those.

Mr Justice McGovern, who noted the company was clearly insolvent, said he was satisfied to appoint Mr Walsh as examiner. He now has up to 100 days to put together a scheme of arrangement with the company’s creditors.

The Revenue Commissioners, one of the largest creditors, said they had some concerns but were not opposing the examinership application.

In its petition, the company said its cash flow difficulties were caused by factors including higher-than-anticipated start-up costs and management issues. The directors had taken steps to address the causes of its difficulties, including the appointment of a new general manager, it was stated.

The directors are William and Claire Murphy, Banna Road, Ardfert, Co Kerry and Joseph Murphy, Skehanagh, Tralee, Co Kerry.