THE HIGH Court has ordered companies behind two of chef Conrad Gallagher’s restaurants in Dublin and Sligo to be wound up after they failing to pay more than €160,000 to the taxman!
The order, made at the request of the Revenue yesterday, covers Boutique Restaurants Concepts Ltd, the company that ran Salon des Saveurs on Aungier Street, Dublin, and Super Potato, which was behind Conrad’s Kitchen in Sligo.
Ms Justice Mary Laffoy made the orders on the grounds that both companies were insolvent and unable to pay their debts.
Ian Lawlor, of JPA Brenson Lawlor Ltd, was appointed liquidator to both firms, which have registered addresses at Aungier Street, Dublin.
Mr Gallagher is not a director of either company, which are in the names of his wife, Candice, and his mother, Evelyn.
The legal team acting for the companies had asked the court for an adjournment to allow time to see if external funding could be obtained in order to satisfy the debt. Revenue opposed the adjournment application as “devoid of merit”.
Ms Justice Laffoy asked whether “a bird in the hand was not worth two in the bush to Revenue”, but Mark O’Mahoney, for the Revenue, said he suspected “there was no bird at all”.
He said no concrete offer had been made to settle the debt since the demands were made and nothing had been on paper to show the companies would be able to secure external funding.
After the ruling Mr Gallagher issued a statement in which he claimed to have worked “aggressively” to try to reach an accommodation with the Revenue to avoid the need for a court hearing.
“It was a surprise and shock that the collector general dealt with this matter in such a heavy-handed, speedy and costly manner, with no opportunity for resolution despite several offers being made by the companies,” the statement said. He recently closed Salon des Saveurs and opened two restaurants on Dublin’s Dawson Street.
The Dining Room and the Tasting Room restaurants are now operating out of La Stampa Hotel in Dublin and are unaffected by yesterday’s court order.
The Donegal man has vowed to pay the tax bill – despite yesterday’s ruling.