Liquidator to be appointed to private hospital

CREDITORS of a €90 million private hospital owed money since its closure five months ago have been advised that a liquidator will be appointed shortly.

The Cork Medical Centre (CMC), which closed in March owing money to suppliers and staff, will hold a meeting of creditors on May 5 at which a liquidator will be appointed.

CMC, which opened last October, had promised to employ close to 500 staff.

By March 9, when the hospital closed, 75 staff had been hired. Up to 19 had been given contracts in the previous fortnight. None of the staff was paid for days worked in March. Holiday pay was also outstanding. Some staff were given cheques that bounced and were owed wages ranging from four weeks to a couple of months.

Sheehan Medical Ltd, which set up CMC Operations Ltd as the vehicle company to run the private hospital, blamed its closure on VHI’s refusal to provide cover to its clients.

Yesterday, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), which represents 16 nurses employed at the facility, said the appointment of a liquidator would at least allow unpaid staff to apply to the Insolvency Fund.

“At least appointing a liquidator gives some degree of certainty,” said INMO industrial relations officer Michael Dineen.

Mr Dineen said it was “unacceptable” that former staff would now have to “stand in line” with creditors in the hope of receiving some payment.

“We have called on their former employer to do the decent thing previously and pay them their money and our position remains the same,” Mr Dineen said.

“It is totally unacceptable to award contracts and then fail to pay your employees. What they can hope for now is doubtless negligible from a monetary point of view.”

The largest creditor is Siemens, which supplied almost €8m worth (including VAT) of hi-tech equipment under a lease agreement.

When asked what its intentions were in relation to the equipment, Siemens previously said it “does not disclose details of our financial transactions as we regard such matters as commercially sensitive”.

The CMC Operations Ltd creditors’ meeting takes place on May 5 in the Rochestown Park Hotel at 2pm.

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