Fears for Irish clubs as bank sells off their debts

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 26, 2019 19:20

An Irish golf club has closed down after its debt – valued at more than £1.1 million – was sold by a bank to a fund.

Dunmurry Springs Golf Club shut down just hours after Allied Irish Banks (AIB) sold the debt to a vulture fund, also known as a distressed debt fund, which buys debts at discounted prices before taking recovery action.

According to reports in the Irish press, AIB is understood to have completed a loan book sale of non-performing exposures (NPEs) which is believed to include several golf clubs.

So far, it appears that Dunmurry Springs is the only one to have closed down.

“We received a letter from the vulture fund and we were all let go,” said Eddie Lonergan, director of golf at Dunmurry Springs, which had 200 members and five staff.

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The club was created and run by Sean Holohan and his son Simon, relying on society booking for most of its income.

“It is with enormous sadness that I have to announce that Dunmurry Springs Golf Club is closing with immediate effect,” Simon Holohan informed members by email.

“Despite our best efforts, consistent and tireless work to maintain and sustain Dunmurry Springs, the last 12 to 24 months have been particularly difficult and we have now been given no option but to close.

“Unfortunately our loan and credit facilities were sold by AIB to one of the vulture funds. Without a banking facility we are unable to continue to employ staff and maintain the course.

“Staff who have gone above and beyond to keep Dunmurry Springs going over the years. We will meet all our commitments to our staff and we will ensure they are given their full entitlement at what is a very difficult time for them.”

It is not clear which other golf clubs have seen their debts sold by AIB but one newspaper has stated that Seapoint Golf Links is now also in the hands of a vulture fund. The club has £3.25 million of debt, which was recently restructured.

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir November 26, 2019 19:20
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