The 330 workers in companies controlled by Galway developer Gerry Barrett – including the g Hotel, the Meyrick and the Eye Cinema – have been told they will keep their jobs under a rescue plan approved by the High Court.
The Court of Appeal last month confirmed Neil Hughes, of Hughes Blake, as examiner to seven companies set up by Mr Barrett, which owed €690 million to Deutsche Bank and faced the threat of receivership
Waltzfire, made up of property manager, Alanis Capital, hotelier Choice Hospitality and Kensington Ventures, led by cinema operator Lorcan Ward, have reportedly paid €89 million for the hotel and property portfolio, which includes the Wellpark Retail Park as well as apartments.
Mr Hughes wrote to their 330 staff last week promising they would keep their jobs if the courts approved a rescue plan where Waltzfire takes over the businesses.
Under the scheme of arrangement, all the companies’ suppliers, the Revenue and local council rates will be paid in full.
Creditors are due to meet this week to vote on whether to accept the terms of the scheme. If they approve, it is likely the plan will return to the High Court for approval.
Mr Hughes was granted leave to enter an agreement with Waltzfire after he turned down a proposal from Besomhill, a company controlled by Mr Barrett, to take back charge of the property empire.
The examiner sought the order because the directors of the companies would not sign documents giving control to Waltzfire and said he feared the deal would fall through.
Opposing the application, Gary McCarthy SC, for the companies, said the directors had not signed because they had insufficient information about the Waltzfire proposal.
Deutsche Bank backed the bid by Waltzfire. The main investor Alanis has more than €1 billion in property assets across Europe and central America.
Last month, Mr Hughes was confirmed by the Court of Appeal as the examiner to firms connected to several businesses including the five-star G Hotel, four-star Meyrick Hotel, apartments, a retail park and the Eye Cinema.
The companies sought the protection of the court after Deutsche Bank appointed a receiver over the firms, which employ more than 330 full time and part time staff.
The bank, which is owed more than €690m by the group after acquiring its loans from Nama in 2015, had opposed the examinership on grounds including it was an attempt by the companies to renege on a 2016 debt settlement agreement which would have resulted in the sale of the group’s assets to reduce its debt to the bank.
That was denied by the companies, who argued that Deutsche Bank had breached the settlement agreement.
Bikers do their bit to mark anniversary of blood service
This year marks the tenth anniversary of Blood Bike West, and the big birthday was marked in style with a sun-drenched afternoon at Galway Plaza’s Bike Fest West.
Galway stuntman Mattie Griffin was the headline attraction; there was face painting, games, plenty of ice-cream – and hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts and families.
The birthday celebrations kicked off with a 160-strong motorcycle spin around the Galway countryside, raising well-needed funds for the volunteering efforts of Blood Bike West.
As a 100% volunteer-run and funded organisation, donations are vitally important for Blood Bike West to continue operating their medical transport in the West of Ireland.
Since its inception in 2012, demand for their volunteers’ services continues to grow: collecting and delivering all manner of urgent medical items regionally and nationally, such as bloods, breast milk, medicines, scans, and equipment.
In 2021 alone, Blood Bike West delivered 983 urgent medical deliveries throughout the country.
As part of Galway City Councils Community, Blood Bike West undertook to operate a 24/7 service, including 165 medication deliveries from pharmacies to the self-isolating and vulnerable during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Since Blood Bike West’s inception in 2012, this increase sees the ongoing need to replace and renew their fleet of motorcycles.
Their motorbikes, Madison, Heather, Margaret, and newly inaugurated bike Cara, are regularly seen on Galway roads, delivering consignments to and from local and regional hospitals.
Park fun to mark Africa Day
On Saturday next (May 28) in Salthill Park, Galway’s African community invites people to join them in a celebration of culture as part of the national Africa Day celebrations.
Africa United Galway, emerging from lockdown and having hosted online festivals for the past two years, will be delivering a family fun day event.
Africa Day 2022 will reinforce a collaboration between Africa United Galway and Galway Africa Diaspora, Shining Light Galway and GoCom Radio (broadcasting live), who have worked to create a festival that will showcase Galway as a city of culture.
Among the performances on the day will be Afrobeat dancer Lapree Lala of Southside Moves, who will show how to dance in African style; Elikya Band will be bringing indigenous African Congolese music; The Youth Performances will be displaying their talent in rap, singing, speaking, and dancing and for the young at heart.
Galway Afrobeat performer Dave Kody will get the crowd moving and there will be poetry through spoken word and cultural displays. There will be a photo booth and face painting and everyone will get to have a taste of African cuisines.
In the spirit of inclusion and integration, The St Nicholas Collegiate Church Parish Choir will be presenting a special African performance as well as a feature presentation by the Hession School of Irish Dance, who will be presenting the famous Riverdance.
Also organised is a football friendly between the African community and An Garda Siochana.
The Mayor, Colette Connolly, will officially be opening the event with a keynote speech and several African Ambassadors are expected to be present on the day to reinforce the culture, beauty and strength of Africa and support for its people.
Africa Day is sponsored by Irish Aid and supported by Galway City Council.
Domestic Violence Response recorded highest number of clients in 24 years under Covid ‘shadow’
BY TIFFANY GREENWALDT-SIMON
A domestic violence support charity in Galway has recorded its highest number of clients in 24 years – “under the shadow” of Covid-19.
Domestic Violence Response (DVR), which is based in Moycullen, also reported its highest level of counselling support sessions in its 2021 annual report published last week.
The charity saw 136 new clients in 2021, and a total of 266 people utilised its services. It also saw a significant increase of return service users.
The support service also provided 51 nights of emergency accommodation through a partnership between Airbnb, Safe Ireland, and Women’s Aid.
Elizabeth Power, Coordinator of DVR Galway, said: “Our 2021 annual report highlights the stark reality of the level of domestic violence in Galway. Under the shadow of Covid-19, DVR recorded the highest number of clients in our 24-year history and delivered the highest number of support services.
“Our staff noted increases in the level of worrying and harrowing experiences of control and abuse. The trauma of these experiences will live with our service users long after Covid-19 fades into memory.
“While Covid-19 restrictions are behind us, domestic violence continues to be present in hundreds of homes throughout Galway.
“As we move through 2022, we will continue to provide our much-needed services to women and men throughout Galway, with an extensive counselling support and advocacy service and a number of new initiatives including a partnership with the HSE which will be launched in the coming months.”
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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