herald

Saturday 22 November 2014

The mansion Yates faces losing

THIS is the sprawling mansion that Ivan Yates may be about to lose.

The impressive pile, set on it's own 160-acre private grounds is now in jeopardy as the businessman battles to deal with his debts.

The family home sits back from the main road with a winding, tree lined avenue entrance. The ivy-clad stately home has been in the Yates family for four generations but now that legacy may be lost.

The former Fine Gael minister Ivan Yates announced that his bookies firm is in receivership. Mr Yates' two-storey country home, located on the outskirts of Enniscorthy, is attached to a substantial family farm.

Not far off sits the dormer bungalow which he built for his mother when he moved into the principal residence.

Celtic Bookmakers has debts of around €6m and Mr Yates is facing ruin as some loans are guaranteed with his family home and that of his 78-year-old mother. However, within hours two other great symbols of the boom times looked set to follow suit.

Staff at hairdressing chain Toni and Guy are braced for bad news with the likelihood it could chop six of its 11 salons. The move comes as well-known chain Cafe Bar Deli prepares to apply for an examiner to be appointed to the company.

Mr Yates confirmed today that shops in Raheny and Naas are to close with immediate effect, but the receiver still hopes that 30 out of 47 shops could be saved. Mr Yates said today: "There is no one to blame, only myself."

Around 70 of the 237 staff attended a meeting in Dublin last night where they were told about the company's downfall.

"It was obviously very distressing for people," said Mr Yates, who is now a broadcaster for Newstalk. "No words of mine can adequately praise the staff."

Mr Yates said that the "focus moves away from me now and on to Neil Hughes [the receiver] and his team. I'm not really empowered to speak on behalf of Celtic Bookmakers now."

But he did confirm that "special arrangements" have been put in place to ensure staff are paid on Thursday. Meanwhile a meeting between Toni and Guy managers in Ireland and officials from the UK headquarters is expected to take place today.

The Irish enterprise is owned by a mixture of franchisees and Toni and Guy Ireland and it is understood to employ around 300 people.

There are six salons in Dublin as well as outlets in Waterford, Cork, Kilkenny, Naas and Galway.

Elsewhere a petition regarding Cafe Bar Deli is set to come before the High Court on January 12 and follows the closure of two of its Dublin branches last year. A cafe in Ranelagh shut its door last August and its George's Street restaurant was taken over in September. This leaves just one surviving outlet on Grafton Street and one in Cork.

kdoyle@herald.ie

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