‘We’re afraid locks will be changed’

March 29th, 2023 11:45 AM

By Jackie Keogh

The owners of O’Donovan’s Hotel, Clonakilty feel ‘tortured’.

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AS a result of an AIB loan being sold to a vulture fund, the owners of O’Donovan’s Hotel in Clonakilty say they feel like they are being ‘tortured.’

Seventh-generation businesspeople Tom and Dena O’Donovan took out a €1.2m loan with AIB in Clonakilty in 2007. They used the loan – secured against their hotel business – to buy The Kilty Stone Tavern next door, and incorporated it into their existing business.

Every month, for about 10 years into their 30-year loan, they paid €6,000 into their account to meet the loan demand, but it stopped being taken out of their account when Everyday Finance acquired the loan from AIB about four years ago. The couple engaged with Everyday Finance, queried the non-withdrawal of payments, and stock-piled the monthly amount, which has since formed the basis of several lump sum offers to clear the loan. 

‘We tried to continue the same payments we were making to AIB to Everyday Finance without defaulting,’ Dena O’Donovan told The Southern Star. 

‘But they wanted large sums on the table, so now we are in default,’ said her brother, Tom. Meanwhile, Ted Hallissey, their solicitor, said: ‘The vulture fund set a figure of €1m and that was eventually offered by my clients, but Everyday Finance reneged on that offer.’ Dena described their current situation as ‘intolerable.’ She said she feels ‘tortured.’ Such is their level of concern that Dena said: ‘We both can’t leave the premises at the same time because we are afraid the locks will be changed.’

Independent TD Michael Collins raised the matter in the Dáil, describing ‘an ongoing campaign of financial intimidation designed to exert maximum pressure on a seventh generation family-run business.’

The Southern Star contacted Everyday Finance’s parent company for a comment, but it said it was unable to provide one.

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