Morris welcomes news of Aherlow House sale, honouring of couples’ bookings

2016-02-19

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Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris has said he is delighted to hear that the sale of Aherlow House Hotel has been agreed, that couples who made bookings and paid deposits will have those bookings honoured, and that the jobs there will be saved. Cllr Morris has recently called publicly and repeatedly for Grant Thornton – the receiver of Aherlow House Hotel – to honour bookings taken by the former hotel operator from couples.

Cllr Morris said: “After an increasing number of couples were in contact with us, we took on-board their

Photographs (1): 2016-02-10: In Clonmel recently Sinn Féin's Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris (Right) with Marcus Fogarty and Cllr Martin Browne of Cashel.
2016-02-10: In Clonmel recently Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris (Right) with Marcus Fogarty and Cllr Martin Browne of Cashel.

concerns, and made representations. We made quite a few enquiries, and were in contact with the office of Grant Thornton in Limerick.”

To hear that the pressure we began applying has yielded a result is wonderful. Sinn Féin pride ourselves that we don’t seek public office for ourselves, but for what we can do for others. On this occasion, that pressure has paid off and we are glad to have been able to help those couples.”

We now know that the hotel has been purchased by Adrian Shanagher. Mr Shanagher is well known to us in Tipperary as he is a Director of Clonmel Park Hotel. He has other well-known interests in the hospitality sector, including Mount Wolseley Hotel in Carlow and Killashee House Hotel in Kildare.”

The difference between Mr Shanagher and the previous operator is immediately obvious. Mr Shanagher has stated that he will honour previous commitments. In addition the hotel will be re-furbished and open again on Wednesday 3rd March next. That’s particularly good news, especially as existing staff now have a job to return to.”

The hotel was owned by Goldman Sachs and the question of couples who have already moved their big day to other hotels has yet to be sorted out by them. I hope that Mr Shanagher, the previous operator and Goldman Sachs will ensure that none of those will lose out. Sinn Féin will continue to demand that all couples are re-imbursed. We are also acutely aware that there are families who have paid deposits for communions, confirmations, and that schools made Debs deposits. Those bookings and deposits should also be honoured.”

I wasn’t the only representative to take action on this. Seamus Healy in Clonmel also made representations. We both share the Right2Change platform. We were the only two to do so and help the couples, but I suspect there’ll be a few others will be out of the woodwork to claim credit for the good news. There’s always at least one who’s as quick as a hare, or as fast as a hound, to get on the bandwagon, but those of us who did the work are happy to have helped.”

That situations like this still arise is further proof that over the last 5 years little has changed in this State. The present Government came to power promising change, yet situations like this still occur. All that’s happened is that more power has been given over to the big guy, while the little guy still suffers.”

The Aherlow House story is an example of vulture capitalism, where businesses are toys, and the little people who depend on those business are little more than collateral damage.


This is the video that Séamie Morris released in support of those affected by the Aherlow closure.

Morris asks Aherlow House Hotel receiver to recover & refund couples’ deposits

2016-02-17

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Sinn Féin’s Tipperary General Election candidate Cllr. Séamie Morris has called publicly for Grant Thornton – the receiver of Aherlow House Hotel – to recover and refund deposits taken by the former hotel operator from couples.

Cllr Morris said: “An increasing number of couples have been in contact with the Sinn Féin team. They paid their deposits to Aherlow House Hotel in good faith for their wedding celebrations to be held there. That money was very hard come-by, and represents an investment in their future that they can not afford to lose.”

When they learned Aherlow House was in receivership they made contact with the receiver, to be told their payments were not in the possession of the hotel, and would not be returned. I know of scenarios around the country where receivers took immediate possession of absolutely everything as a first step. In the recent Xtra-Vision case 83 cars left Dublin to head to 83 different locations simultaneously to do just this.”

2016-01-07: Cllr Séamie Morris at the launch of the Sinn Féin 2016 commemoration programme, with Gerry Adams TD.
2016-01-07: Cllr Séamie Morris at the launch of the Sinn Féin 2016 commemoration programme, with Gerry Adams TD.

Why wasn’t the same done in this case?”

The hotel operator leased the business, apparently with a view to purchase. Clearly from this, customer service was not a high priority for him. The hotel is owned by Goldman Sachs – a name well known to us, and not always in a positive light. The receivers Grant Thornton are not willing to take responsibility for all of the business they are receiving.”

This is further proof that over the last 5 years little has changed in this State. The present Government came to power promising change, yet situations like this still occur.”

All that’s happened is that more power has been given over to the big guy, while the little guy still suffers.”

Those deposits total about 70,000, which is a trivial asset to a vulture capitalist, but a very significant amount for a young couple starting out their lives together.

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The hotel is owned by Goldman Sachs.

The full Aherlow House story is a prime example of vulture capitalism, where business are tossed around like playthings, and the little people who depend on those business are little more than collateral damage.”

Sinn Féin won’t stand by while young people are treated this way. We will consider all options, including a protest at the hotel. We’re worried also about the future of the workers in the hotel, of which there are about 25. Owner Goldman Sachs and receiver Grant Thornton must show a social conscience, and not just process this receivership in the interests of the big-money operators.”

Most of the couples affected are based in South Tipperary, but this type of business behaviour is a national problem.”