Calls to save jobs in Limerick restaurants as interim examiner appointed

Cornstore Limerick on Thomas Street.

THERE have been calls locally to save 200 jobs that could be at risk due to the owner of a number of popular Limerick restaurants going into examinership.

The application was made by the group who run the Cornstore and Coqbull restaurants, which have three outlets in Limerick, along with a number in Cork.

An interim examiner was appointed by the High Court last week after one of the company’s debtors, Swedish-based Proventus Capital Partners III KB fund, made a demand of payment of approximately €26.74million which the restaurants did not make.

The examinership concerns a number of companies, namely Keep it Real Holdings DAC, Rosewalk Ltd, Coal Quay Restaurants Ltd, Winstore Restaurants Ltd, Burgerchick Cork Limited, Burgerchick Limerick Ltd, and Burgerchick Castletroy Limited.

The companies were controlled by Limerick businessman Padraic Frawley and his wife Linda, who also own and operate a number of restaurants and bars in London.

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It is understood that most of the debt relates to the UK businesses and that the Cornstore and Coqbull outlets in Limerick and Cork are viable and profitable businesses.

In response to recent reports, local councillor Olivia O’Sullivan has written to Ministers Simon Coveney and Neale Richmond in the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment in order to safeguard the approximately 200 employees that the companies employ across their Limerick and Cork restaurants.

In her letter, Cllr O’Sullivan said: “The Cornstore and Coqbull are two of Limerick City’s busiest restaurants and would be a huge loss to our city centre, as well as to Castletroy, but the first concern must be for the staff who will be extremely worried this week not knowing the fate of their employer.”

“I would ask that you do everything in your power to advocate for these jobs on behalf of the 200 people working here,” Cllr O’Sullivan concluded.

The Irish Independent reported that the examinership situation could see the Coqbull and Cornstore chains survive as going concerns, and that there had already been an expression of interest from one potential investor who, it is understood, has a long track record in the Irish hospitality sector.