Belfast Telegraph

More than 30 disqualified Northern Ireland directors rack up £34m debt over last year

Total of 34 company bosses banned from the boardroom

By John Mulgrew

More than 30 company directors have been banned from Northern Ireland boardrooms in the last year - racking up debts of almost £34m, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

During the financial year in 2017/18, a total of 34 company directors received disqualifications, according to the Department for the Economy.

The total liabilities left behind by firms totalled £33.8m, during the period, with an overall deficiency of £16.5m.

But while the debts are significant, the value and number of those being banned from the boardroom has fallen over the last five years. Since 2013, a total of 300 company directors have been handed down bans, racking up debts of £757.4m.

According to official figures, 110 directors were disqualified in 2013/14, with debts of £331.7m.

That huge figure included the Presbyterian Mutual Society Limited, which went under with debts of more than £205m.

And in 2014/15, the total figure stood at 71 directors being disqualified, with total debts of £277.4m.

Those figures included the collapsed property firm Jermon Limited, which had total debt of £199.2m.

In 2016/17, debt levels among companies with directors who were banned for a period of time stood at £86.9m.

Some of the director disqualifications in the last financial year included an undertaking from the director of a food, beverages and tobacco retail business. It was received for nine years from Patrick Owen McGrath of Long Island Drive, Newtownards, in respect of his conduct as a director of Carrickglen Retail Ltd.

And the former boss of a metal manufacturing company in Co Armagh was banned from the boardroom for four years.

Ann Parks (77), from Wyncroft Heights in Banbridge, accepted a director’s disqualification for misconduct after Annesborough Engineering in Lurgan went out of business owing around £250,000.

Meanwhile, this year a number of companies have faced administration or liquidation.

That includes outsourcing giant Carillion, which collapsed across the UK, with the Northern Ireland arm following suit.

Last month, the Belfast Telegraph revealed French energy giant Engie is taking on the firm’s Northern Ireland Housing Executive contracts following Carillion’s collapse.

The Housing Executive contracts are worth around £35m a year.

Last year, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that EY was trying to sell off all of Carillion’s business on the island of Ireland, weeks before it went into liquidation.

Carillion employs approximately 500 staff here, with around 230 working for the NI Housing Executive. Across the UK, around 20,000 employees still face an uncertain future.

Carillion has three major maintenance contracts with the Housing Executive here and also has deals with the Ministry of Defence and Power NI.

Belfast Telegraph

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