Belfast Telegraph

Tourist village's hotel closes leaving 25 people out of work

By Lesley Houston

A popular hotel in a picturesque village in Co Fermanagh is set to close with the loss of around 25 jobs.

The Carlton in Belleek, which attracts thousands of tourists every year who visit the town's pottery factory, is closing after the failure of a six-month effort to find a buyer. The Carlton went into administration in July when Dungannon accountants Cavanagh Kelly were appointed by owners Ulster Bank to find a buyer.

The administrators continued to run the business as a going concern since then but yesterday confirmed the closure of the hotel, a prominent Main Street landmark.

Cavanagh Kelly said they took to the difficult decision to cease trading after lengthy negotiations with several interested parties ended without success.

The hotel remains for sale or lease but the announcement of the business's closure has put up to 25 people out of work.

Sinn Fein MLA Phil Flanagan, a former employee of the hotel, said it was a "crying shame" a buyer could not be found.

He added he said he would be "putting pressure" on the Ulster Bank to consider putting the business up for auction. "In circumstances like this, where a functioning business is put into administration, the first option should be to look at whether the employees and management are interested in establishing a workers' co-operative to assume ownership as no one has a greater stake in its success," he said.