Debt management firm Eist agus Cuidiú has closed down just 11 months after opening and receiving €360k in grants from the taxpayer.
It was set up to offer advice for people caught up in the recession, earning monies from restructuring of personal debts.
But tonight it too has gone bust.
It had received significant financial support from Udaras and other state agencies when it was set up last August offering salaries of up to €35k per annum.
In total 26 jobs have gone – with staff not being paid their salary for last month.
Senator Brian O Domhnaill and TD Pearse Doherty have both called on the company to honour its commitments to the employees.
One employee told us: “It’s ironic that we worked in the debt sector and yet it is us who will end up on the dole and in debt.
“It’s very sad that this has happened. We just want the company to square us all up with the money it owes us and we have been told that will happen but we didn’t get it last week when we should have done.”
Deputy Doherty said: “Today’s news will be a huge blow to the 26 employees of this Gweedore based company and I am devastated for them. ‘Eist agus Cuidiú’ was established only in August of last year as a financial services call centre which offered help to people to get out of financial trouble through debt management. Despite significant state aid it was unable to find a way out of its own financial troubles.
“One of the employees told me today that their priority now, was to ensure that the months pay that was due to them last week and hadn’t been paid along with all their other entitlements are paid in full. It goes with out saying that there is no good time to lose your job but to do so at the height of an unemployment crisis and only days after the Central Statistics Office announce that Donegal had an unemployment rate of 26% is deeply worrying.
“I would call on the directors of this company to ensure that all of their employees receive all of their entitlements and that they are treated with respect. Today’s announcement is another call to action on the government to bring forward a real and meaningful job creation programme that can offer some hope to the former employees of ‘Eist agus Cuidiú’ and the tens of thousands of others who today through no fault of their own find themselves out of work.”
Donegal Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has described the impending closure of Eist & Cuidiú Teo as a major blow for Gaoth Dobhair, and disastrous for the 26 employees who will soon be out of work and out of pocket.
The financial services call centre was established in Gaoth Dobhair last August with the support of Údarás na Gaeltachta. Less than a year later, the company is ceasing operations. Management is meeting with staff this afternoon.
Local Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill says the circumstances of the closure are deeply worrying.
“Not only are the 26 full and part time workers set to lose their jobs, but they are also owed 4 weeks pay which they have not yet received. Together with holiday pay and other entitlements owed, some staff are out of pocket by up to 7 or 8 weeks pay,” Senator Ó Domhnaill explained.
“The company, which was selling to the UK market, is owed a substantial sum of money from clients and has been forced to cease operations due to cash flow problems. Two clients alone owe the firm €200,000. In a further attempt to retrieve the outstanding payments owed, management travelled to England last week but were unsuccessful in their efforts.
“I have spoken to senior Údarás management and a number of the employees today. The most important thing now is the protection of the workers and ensuring that they get what is owed to them. The company has a number of legal options available to it in this regard. For instance, the insolvency fund from Department of Social Protection is only available after company entering a legal wind down. This fund provides for employees to obtain any outstanding salary, holiday pay and other entitlements.
“Ultimately, what is happening at Eist & Cuidiú Teo demonstrates the ongoing unwillingness of financial institutions to lend to viable companies in times of cash flow difficulties. Jobs are being lost as a result. This is something that this Government has failed to address since taking up office, and must start taking serioulsy,” said Senator Ó Domhnaill.