herald

Monday 1 September 2014

Quinns pub boss pleads for €250k debt deal with IBRC

THE embattled landlord of a Dublin pub has begged bankers to cut him a debt deal on the premises -- which were once part of the Sean Quinn empire.

Eoin Quinlan has been "virtually squatting" in the upstairs office of Quinns pub in Drumcondra since an attempted dawn raid last Thursday by bankers from the IBRC, formerly Anglo, who tried to seize control.

He says he just wants to be able to pay his suppliers and walk away from the premises.

The bank claims he owes €250,000 in rent arrears. However Mr Quinlan has claimed that he has been paying twice the market rate in rent.

A father of two young children, he had been paying €30,000 a month to the IBRC after it took over control of the pub from the Quinn family.

However, with business plummeting due to the recession, the publican is finding it impossible to pay this.

He wrote repeatedly to the bank to ask for meetings to negotiate a lower rent and in the meanwhile, got an independent estate agent in to value the market value of the lease. They said it was worth €15,000 a month.

He had managed to improve the pub trade with a Facebook social media marketing campaign and by tying in with colleges and GAA club sponsorship.

"I can make the pub work at €15,000 rent but not €30,000 -- no publican is that good," said Mr Quinlan.

Increasingly frustrated, he wrote again to the IBRC asking for an agreement to lower the rent. "They kept saying 'yeah, yeah, we'll sit and talk' and asked for three years of accounts."

After supplying them with this, the bank then asked for a copy of his pub licence and a tax clearance cert. A week later, it sent him a solicitor's letter saying he owed the bank ¤250,000 and ordering him to vacate the pub by 5pm on November 7.

"I thought it was a strong- arm tactic and that they'd come around and bargain," said Mr Quinlan.

Tip-off

However he received a tip-off that the IBRC would make a dawn raid on the premises at 5.30am on Thursday and so stayed up all night with four other bar staff.

"At half-five we looked at each other and laughed, saying 'this isn't going to happen'. But 10 minutes later we heard the locks being drilled," he said.

He contacted the gardai and the bankers eventually left after being told they did not have a court order.

However Mr Quinlan is expecting the bank to begin court proceedings today and says he now just wants to cut a deal and walk away -- if they will drop their claim for the unpaid rent.

"At this stage, mentally and physically, I'd be quite happy to hand over the pub. But I can't leave here with a debt of a quarter of a million hanging over my head," he said.

"I want to pay all my suppliers and try and do a deal so that I can be debt-free."

hnews@herald.ie

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