Midleton bar owner battles to stop appointment of receiver to her family's business

Midleton bar owner battles to stop appointment of receiver to her family's business

Wallis' Bar on Main Street, Midleton. File picture.

A pub owner in Midleton, Co Cork went to the High Court today amid fears a receiver could be appointed over the family business.

Mary Cunningham of Wallis’ Bar, Main Street, Midleton won an interim injunction to restrain the appointment of a receiver over the third-generation public house which is still shut due to the pandemic.

The wet pub is currently undergoing renovation including the insertion of snugs in the bar area so patrons can social distance when it opens in October.

Mrs Cunningham’s counsel Bernard Dunleavy SC told the court the pub owner had gone to court on an ex parte basis because of a threat to appoint a receiver over unidentified security held and Mrs Cunningham fears for the pub.

Counsel said the pub owner is very concerned the appointment of a receiver would mean that all those working on the renovation for the October opening would down tools.

In her affidavit Mrs Cunningham said she did not believe “the business could recover from the commercial and credit disruption caused by the appointment of a receiver". 

She added: “I face losing the pub business at this time if a receiver is appointed. We are a business on its knees and still struggling to do the very best we can. We live in this town, we have traded with these people for generations, our children have grown up here. We have longstanding and honourable relationships with professional services, banks, creditors and I am not sure how we could ever recover in these extraordinary times from the type of attack on our business.” 

She had sought the interim injunction against credit management and debt recovery business Everyday Finance DAC and loan administration company Link ASI Limited.

At issue is a €330,000 loan advanced by AIB in 2007 to a company Cunwall Enterprises Limited. In 2019 Everyday acquired the AIB’s interest in the loan and this is the subject of separate proceedings before the High Court.

Mrs Cunningham contends the advance of the loan was never documented and was not secured over any asset owned by her or any asset in which she had or has an interest.

She also contends the loan was not advanced to her although she was the eventual beneficiary of the proceeds. She says this was explained on a number of occasions to Everyday and Link which she said “appear intent on taking enforcement measures".

The loan related to the purchase of an adjoining property to the public house in a bigger transaction involving a company called Cunwall Enterprises Ltd in 2007. The pub owner said she did not receive the monies personally and all loans relating to Wallis’ public house were repaid in full and none are outstanding.

In an affidavit to the court Mrs Cunningham said the bar has been operated by generations of her family since the 1940s. She along with her husband have operated it through the Cunwall company of which they are directors. Mrs Cunningham owns the property which she has leased to Cunwall for the last 35 years.

Granting the interim injunction Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds listed the case to come back before the court on October 8.

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