Supporting Local News

Liquidator appointed to company behind International House Galway


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Liquidator appointed to company behind International House Galway Liquidator appointed to company behind International House Galway

From the Galway City Tribune – Dozens of English language students are still out of pocket by €40,000 following the collapse of International House Galway in February.

Students and agencies met with administrators last week and were told there was approximately €30,000 in the accounts that could be distributed to creditors following the liquidation.

But some of that has to pay staff and teachers who lost their jobs following the overnight closure of the Eyre Square school.

The Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) has called on language schools in Galway and elsewhere “to show solidarity” with the affected students and offer them places on courses as they had already paid substantial fees.

Executive Director of the independent advocacy group, Laura Harmon, said while the situation was still unfolding, it was now highly likely that students and agencies were going to be significantly out of pocket.

“Clearly there has been blatant bad management in this company where they were advertising courses two weeks before their collapse when they must have had some foresight of the financial situation. They didn’t put money handed over by agencies and students into an escrow account so this money has just disappeared,” she stated.

“I’m not sure what steps we are going to take next. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of action on a government-level despite the damage this is doing to Ireland’s reputation as a destination for English language students – the French Embassy had already issued a warning to young people coming here about the difficulties in securing accommodation.”

Most of the students left in limbo are from Turkey, Spain, Yemen and Latin America.

Most of the enrolled students were relocated to new schools following the closure because they had a Learner Protection policy. But some told the ICOS in an online meeting last week that they had also paid for this insurance.

Learner Protection is an immigration requirement for education providers who sell courses to non-EEA international students. However, it is not a requirement for EU students.

“The lack of protection for English language students will deter many learners from choosing to study English in Ireland,” Ms Harmon said.

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. A one-year digital subscription costs just €89.00. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

“We are urging the Government to introduce the International Education Mark to ensure that in future students can be confident that their course fees are protected.

“Some of the students we spoke to weren’t even aware they should have this insurance. Clearly there’s a major lack of regulation in the sector. While this appears to be an isolated incident, in 2015 there were several schools in Dublin which closed down suddenly.”

International House Galway was operated by English By Design Ltd, where the owners were Mary Grennan from Dublin and Marcel Jansen, Michal Mazanek and Dr Valeria Hennessey with addresses in England. The directors of the company were Magdalena Grochola with an address in Tuam, along with Dr Hennessy and Mr Mazanek.

Michal Mazanek is the founder and CEO of a company called MTS (Mobile Testing Solutions) in the UK, while Marcel Jansen and Valeria Hennessy operate International House Bristol.

At an Extraordinary General Meeting of English By Design Ltd last Monday, Conor O’Boyle of O’Boyle and Associates in Galway was appointed liquidator to the company.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up