Belfast Telegraph

Top hotels go into receivership

By Siobhan Creaton

Bertie Ahern's favourite holiday hideaway, the Parknasilla Hotel in Kerry, and Dublin's famous Burlington Hotel, have gone into receivership.

A third hotel also owned by property developer Bernard McNamara, the Cork International, has been taken over by accountant Paul McCann.

The Co Clare-born developer has debts of more than €1.5bn (£1.24bn), that includes more than €200m (£166m) he owes to Bank of Scotland (Ireland), which appointed the receiver last week.

The hotels employ 180 staff and Mr McCann said they would continue to be employed.

He also moved to reassure customers that all deposits and money pre-paid for events at these hotels would be honoured.

Both the Parknasilla and Burlington are popular destinations for Northern Ireland holiday-makers.

Mr McCann said: "It is business as usual in all hotels with no impact on the day-to-day operations."

He said there were no immediate plans to sell any of the three properties.

At the height of the property boom, Mr McNamara paid €288m (£239m) for the Burlington, the central Dublin venue that hosts many high-profile events including sports awards and Fianna Fail's Cairde Fail annual fundraiser. He also spent another €100m (£83m) buying an adjoining site from insurer Allianz and had received planning permission to develop the sites. In 2006, he also purchased the Parknasilla Hotel, which had been part of the Great Southern Hotel group owned by the Irish State, for €44m (£37m).

The resort in Sneem, Co Kerry, that dates back to 1692, has long been a favourite with politicians, royals and writers.

For the past 20 years, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern holidayed there with family and friends. Other high-profile guests have included George Bernard Shaw, the late Princess Grace of Monaco and her husband Prince Rainier as well as other European kings and queens.

Today it has 83 bedrooms and suites as well as self-catering lodges and villas overlooking Kenmare Bay. The Cork International Hotel is close to the city's airport and the city centre.

Mr McNamara stepped down from the board of the company that controlled the Burlington Hotel in 2009. Bank of Scotland (Ireland), which provided the loan finance for the purchase, also took a stake in the hotel and owns about 30% of it.