Publican Jay Bourke seeking €12.5m debt write-off

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18 November 2021

Well-known Dublin publican and restaurateur Jay Bourke wants a court to approve a personal insolvency arrangement writing off around €12.5m in debt and allowing him to retain his family home.

Mr Bourke’s application was transferred to the High Court by Judge Verona Lambe of the Circuit Court due to the size of his debts.

The 55-year-old businessman, with an address in Rathmines, has been a fixture on the Dublin hospitality scene for some time, and has operated establishments such as Rí Rá, Eden Restaurant, Café Bar Deli, Pantibar and The Globe.

But he has run into difficulties in recent years.

In 2017 the High Court disqualified him from acting as a company for seven years arising out of the liquidation of the former Shebeen Chic pub on South Great George’s Street.

He was also the manager of the Berlin D2 bar on Dame Street when it was at the centre of controversy over a boozy brunch event in August last year at which social distancing regulations were breached.

The incident led gardaí to successfully object to the renewal of its licence, a decision which is being appealed.

Mr Justice Mark Sanfey agreed to the transfer of Mr Bourke’s personal insolvency proceedings to the High Court.

Under an arrangement devised by personal insolvency practitioner John O’Callaghan of KPMG, Mr Bourke would have his mortgage restructured and paid off in full.

The property is thought to be worth around €1.3m.

Mr Bourke would also pay off in full debts of around €558,000 owed to the Revenue Commissioners, which is a preferential creditor.

However, other creditors would see debts owed to them significantly written down.

The Revenue has filed a petition to bankrupt Mr Bourke, but this was adjourned to allow him seek protection from creditors and come up with a personal insolvency arrangement.

Barrister Keith Farry, for the practitioner, said the Revenue and Mr Bourke’s mortgage lender had both agreed to the personal insolvency arrangement.

However, a large unsecured creditor voted against it at a creditors’ meeting in October, meaning it could not be passed.

The High Court now has to decide whether to overturn that objection.

The case is expected to return to the court within the next month.

If you would like an assessment of a claim, you can use the online form available here without obligation or alternatively you can use the automatic claim calculator.

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