One of Waterford City’s best-known family businesses has gone into examinership.
The Tweedy Group of Bars Ltd made an application for an Examiner to be appointed in the High Court on Wednesday.
The dominant player in the Waterford nightlife sector, the bar and entertainment group includes, in the city centre, Muldoons, Rubys, Oxygen, Masons and The Woodman; Oskars bar and restaurant on the Dunmore Road. The Park Inn/Bad Bobs, Lismore Park is not affected by examinership..
Employing around 160 full/part-time staff across 10 venues – and up to 200 during peak periods – the company has been granted 100 days of court protection during which time an Examiner will try to restructure finances and develop a strategy for its survival. The group’s debt is believed to stand at more than €10 million.
Managing Director Bob Tweedy says the severe economic downturn, and a lack of credit from banks to finance modernisation plans, has forced the company into this course of action. However, he is confident the group will survive. All its bars and night-clubs are to remain open during the examinership process, with the matter due back before the High Court next Thursday.
His family has been involved in the pub trade locally since 1974, when his parents opened the Park Inn, Lisduggan. They were involved in the hospitality business for five years before that.
A one-time tax accountant, Bob jnr opened The Pulpit on John Street in 1987. His interests have since included joint-ownership of Irish-themed bars, trading as Paddy Reilly’s, in the Swiss cities of Basel, Fribourg and Locarno. He has spent much of his time over the past decade in Switzerland but now lives in Dunmore East. The only other director is his sister Anne, Glenmore.
Mr Tweedy, 47, who is chairman of the Irish Nightclub Industry Association – and was recently reported to be acting as a consultant to FBD Hotels as they look to enter the Dublin nightclub scene – has been involved in several mega-money deals for licensed premises in Waterford, mostly around the Manor/John Street Junction.
In July 2005, his group bought the Muldoons complex (including Peig’s and Oxygen) at auction for a record €9.25m from the Kavanagh brothers – more than 100 times what their parents had originally paid for the premises when starting ‘Fat Sams’ in the mid-’80s.
| PHOTOS: GAVIN DOWNEY