Private hospital creditors to attend meeting

A LIQUIDATOR is due to be appointed today at a meeting of creditors of a €90 million private hospital that closed in March, just five months after it opened.

Suppliers and staff of the Cork Medical Centre (CMC), run by CMC Operations Ltd, will find out what money, if any, is available to repay outstanding debt.

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. Up to eight staff were given cheques that bounced and were owed wages ranging from four weeks to a couple of months.

Director of nursing Kay O’Mahony was one of eight whose monthly cheque for February bounced.

Speaking in advance of today’s meeting, Ms O’Mahony said she hoped the meeting would provide the information people needed to recoup the money they were owed.

“Most people just want to see what can be done about getting paid and what processes we have to follow. Then people just want to move on and put the experience behind them,” she said.

The appointment of a liquidator will allow former staff apply for certain outstanding entitlements under the Insolvency Payments Scheme.

Up to €600 a week is available under the scheme up to a maximum of eight weeks, according to Michael Dineen, industrial relations officer with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

“It’s capped at €4,800 so a number of staff should be covered by the Insolvency Fund,” Mr Dineen said.

The INMO represents 16 former staff at the facility.

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

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

The creditors’ meeting takes place today in the Rochestown Park Hotel at 2pm.

More in this section