19 April 2023
By Mary Bermingham
Independent TD for Cork South-West Michael Collins has once again highlighted the ongoing legal and financial plight of O’Donovan’s Hotel in Clonakilty as its owners battle with actions being taken by the credit management and debt purchase company Everyday Finance.
This is the third time Deputy Collins has raised the matter. Today, he did so during Leaders Questions with the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney – who is a TD for Cork South Central.
Deputy Michael Collins called on Minister Simon Coveney to establish with immediate effect an investigation into the legitimacy of AIB’s decision to sell on the O’Donovan family’s loan to Everyday Finance. He also called on Government to put measures in place with the aim of establishing what he called a ‘proper regulatory authority’ capable of responding and protecting the interests of businesses like O’Donovan’s Hotel when they find themselves being pursued by vulture funds through no fault of their own:
“Three weeks ago, when I raised this matter with the Tánaiste Micheál Martin, he said he would be prepared to meet with the O’Donovan’s to discuss this grave matter. Since then, not a word has been heard from him and no meeting has taken place. That is absolutely reprehensible because it gave the O’Donovan’s hope that some movement on this matter could be initiated at the highest level of Government,” said Deputy Collins.
“Today, Minister Coveney has also agreed to meet with the O’Donovan’s, and while I welcome that, I can only hope that he demonstrates more willingness and follow-through that Micheál Martin.”
“Minister Coveney however did sidestep the issue of establishing the kind of regulatory body that I think is necessary by referring to the role of the Central Bank. But if the Central Bank was doing its job effectively then honest and decent hardworking family businesses like O’Donovan’s Hotel might have been able to avoid being thrown to the vultures for the kind of financial evisceration that they are now enduring.”
“The state is a significant shareholder in AIB and that is why I also want to see an investigation into its role in this obscene mess. AIB should not be able to simply absolve itself of all responsibility once the loans are sold on. Minister Coveney has accepted that the relationships and interactions of the Irish banking sector with Irish businesses must be characterised by respect and professionalism of the kind that has been entirely absent from this situation.”
“That is why I, and most importantly, the O’Donovan’s, look forward to seeing what positive progress can be made for all sides of this dispute in the coming days and weeks,” concluded Deputy Collins.