Judge plays Santa to save creditors from toppling circus

Robert Fossett, of Fossett Brothers Circus, at the circuit civil court where an examiner was appointed to the circus company. Picture: Courtpix

A judge who played Santa has saved Christmas for the children and the clowns. Judge Jacqueline Linnane granted the famed Fossett Brothers Circus the protection of the circuit civil court from creditors.

Her decision to appoint Joseph Walsh, of Hughes Blake Accountants, as examiner to the circus company, means no group or single creditor can topple the big top over the Christmas period.

Barrister Ross Gorman said Fossett Brothers would now continue with its show at the Winter Funderland in the RDS.

Mr Gorman said the company had reached a stage where it had been unable to pay its debts, but an independent firm of accountants, which had prepared a report for the court, believed the circus had a reasonable prospect of survival.

He said that if an examiner was not appointed the company would have to go into liquidation and all of its employees would lose their jobs.

Under examinership, the company’s unsecured creditors would receive some dividend and the show, with the guidance of the court, could go on.

The court heard that if Mr Walsh could prepare a scheme of arrangement to facilitate the circus’s survival then its creditors might be able to trade profitably with the company into the future.

Mr Gorman had earlier told the court that Fossett Brothers since 2010 faced collapse without the appointment of an examiner. He said part of the examiner’s job would be to deal with an outstanding debt of €500,000 arising from a family dispute which had led to High Court proceedings in 1992 and which had not settled until 2008.

The debt had increased with interest to €1.2m.


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