Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 22 November 2014

19 Belfast jobs lost as Ireland’s oldest car hire firm goes under

At least 19 people are being made redundant after a car hire company went under.

Pembroke Services, part of the Irish Murray Group of companies, went into liquidation last week with debts of around £1.3m.

Gareth Neill of Grant Thornton in Belfast has been appointed liquidator.

A spokesman for Grant Thornton said the firm had assets worth nearly £400,000, though only around 25% of these could be realised.

Debts include £1.25m to ordinary creditors, around £50,00 owed to the bank and £15,000 owed to employees in back pay and holiday pay.

The Murray Group is run by Harold Thomas Murray and Harold John Murray, a father and son from Co Dublin.

This year it lost a franchise with Europcar rental, thought to have been a fatal blow in an already mixed history for the company’s operations in Northern Ireland.

A creditors meeting was held last Wednesday.

Payment of redundancy to workers in Northern Ireland is to be handled by Grant Thornton.

One worker who was with the company for six years at its base in George Best Belfast City Airport, said employees were told on July 6 that jobs were being lost but did not hear from administrators until August 7.

“We were given no pay, holiday pay, pay in lieu or redundancy, or P45s.”

On August 7 they received a letter from the company’s financial director saying it was in administration.

But he argued that the southern operator was still trading, “surely they can afford to pay us? I really feel they have thrown the north to the wolves,” he said.

An interim examiner from Grant Thornton in Dublin has been appointed to run the car rental operations of the Murray group in the Republic. According to a statement of affairs given to the court, Murray’s Rent-A-Car owes creditors €12.6m, Murray Leasing €4.1m, and Murray Chauffeur Drive, €1.9m. It is hoped the court’s protection will allow the companies to trade their way out of difficulty.

But the company — Ireland’s oldest car hire firm — still has considerable assets.

The company has been restructuring Ireland-wide, cutting about 40 jobs.

mcanning@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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