Belfast Telegraph

Former Potted Hen couple declared bankrupt with company left owing £400,000 in debts

But restaurant is still trading normally

By John Mulgrew

A husband and wife team once behind one of Belfast's top restaurants have been declared bankrupt, it can be revealed.

An insolvency order was brought against Dermot John Regan (39) and Catherine Mary Regan (41), both from Lower Rogan Manor in Newtownabbey, who had previously been directors of Oregano Belfast Ltd.

The firm had owned The Potted Hen, in Belfast's St Anne's Square, and Oregano on the Ballyrobert Road in Newtownabbey.

It is understood that Oregano is now closed. The Potted Hen, meanwhile, which is no longer under the control of Oregano Belfast Ltd, has been taken over and is continuing to trade normally.

Mr Regan was working a lunch service yesterday, but did not wish to comment on his bankruptcy.

A petition to wind up Oregano Belfast Ltd was first presented on March 19 last year. But now both of the company's directors have been made bankrupt in action brought by creditors.

The latest documents filed to Companies House on behalf of Oregano Belfast Ltd by liquidators show the scale of the firm's debts, with those owed to unsecured creditors amounting to more than £400,000.

The Potted Hen was opened in November 2010 by the Regans, who had originally tasted success with Oregano.

It was the first restaurant to open in the St Anne's Square complex, and it blazed a trail for all the other quality eateries which can now be found dotted around the complex.

It hit the headlines in December 2013 when a dissident bomb exploded just yards from the restaurant's front doors.

But normal service resumed the next evening and the Regans thanked customers for their support.

Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, said the couple's bankruptcy was another sign of the difficult conditions faced by the sector.

"The hospitality industry has a challenging environment, and restaurants have a high failure rate," he added.

"But I'm happy to see The Potted Hen trading, which is good."

Regarding Oregano in Newtownabbey, restaurant critic Joris Minne said: "Geography is everything.

"Following the Troubles, the resurgence in populated centres is proof that working in country restaurants is more challenging."

Belfast Telegraph

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