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Game Of Thrones security firm runs out of money

By Yvette Shapiro

Published 21/10/2015

Managing director Andrew McQuillan
Managing director Andrew McQuillan

A leading Northern Ireland company that provided security on the Game Of Thrones film sets is to cease trading after running out of money, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

Select Management and Security Ltd, responsible for guarding film sets and major events, says it's facing a serious cash flow problem and has decided to wind down its operations.

The head of the company has told how he has been left penniless and was devastated at losing his business.

Its 300 staff, along with its numerous security contracts, are being transferred to other companies.

Select has provided security on several series of Game Of Thrones, as well as the BBC drama production Line Of Duty.

Its security guards also worked on the film set of Robot Overlords, shot mostly in Co Down and starring The Fall star Gillian Anderson and Oscar winner Sir Ben Kingsley.

Earlier this year the company announced it was creating 40 new jobs at Pinewood Studios in England for senior management, security officers, and location assistants.

Select also had contracts with many of Northern Ireland's councils and provided security at events such as Belfast Pride, the Lord Mayor's Parade, the Irish Open at Royal Portrush, the North West 200 and Belfast Culture Night.

The company opened an office in London a year ago with a view to developing business across the UK and abroad.

Managing director Andrew McQuillan, the son of former PSNI Acting Deputy Chief Constable Alan McQuillan, recently worked as a consultant in crowd control in the Polish Football League.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "We have moved to protect our staff and our clients. We don't expect to have more than five redundancies in total, and probably fewer than that.

"All of our staff are paid up to date and they will be transferred to the other providers. It's a controlled wind-down, we're not in administration. This is an orderly transfer of contracts."

Mr McQuillan, who started the company in 2006 aged just 19, said he was devastated at losing his business. "This has been my whole life for most of the past 10 years. I'm the sole director and I've been left with nothing. I'm literally broke and it's very hard to get my head around it. I don't know what I'll do next."

In its last company accounts, for the year ended July 31, 2014, Select's liabilities exceeded its assets by £260,276.

In its director's report the company said the nature of its business meant that there were "considerable unpredictable variations in the timing of cash inflows".

It said that it had agreed finance facilities and anticipated that the "company will return to profitable trading in the foreseeable future".

Mr McQuillan said it was becoming increasingly difficult to make money in the security industry. "Our payroll bill is a very large amount, tens of thousands of pounds every week. Profit levels are very tight. The best companies here in Northern Ireland are lucky to make a pound an hour on wages. The industry is about bulk and volume and we had both, but the cash flow problem became too serious and we had no option."

Select Management and Security had become one of the best known companies in the security industry here.

"We were the biggest film and television security company in Northern Ireland," said Mr McQuillan. "We've worked on many of the big productions here in recent years, as well as many major events."

Meanwhile, a Co Antrim-based security firm, Guardforce Ltd, is also to cease trading, the Belfast Telegraph understands. The Ballymoney firm employs around a dozen staff as well as part-time contractors at sites across Northern Ireland. It also carries out CCTV surveillance on business premises. It made no comment yesterday, but a source said it had decided to undertake a voluntary winding-up, with most of its staff transferred to new operators.

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