A WELL-KNOWN Limerick city hotel and pub has closed with the loss of 50 full and part time jobs.
Staff at the 72-bedroom Patrick Punchâ€™s Hotel, at Punchâ€™s Cross on the Ballinacurra Road, were called into a meeting this Monday where they were told that due to tough trading conditions, the hotel was being placed into liquidation.
Customer notices at all entrances to the building advised the business was closed until further notice
While members of the gym - which has around 300 members - who have paid annual fees look set to lose out, management sources at the hotel said they will endeavour to reaccommodate those with wedding bookings at other hotels in the city. However, couples-to-be look likely to lose out on any deposits they have laid down.
Staff are angry at the closure, with some owed up to â‚¬5,000 in payment. They apparently had foregone their wages in recent weeks to ensure the hotel kept trading.
One staff member, who is owed â‚¬2,000, said they are all in shock.
â€œAll of us feel we have been taken advantage of. We all worked for two to three weeks with no money at all to keep the place open, to keep the show on the road. Everyone is saddened by the fact it closed. But we are annoyed,â€ said the worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
She added: â€œI am up to my eyes in debt because I have been waiting to be paid. There are lots of staff here with young kids. A couple have gone home in tears today, because neither of them have work.â€
Management at the hotel told staff that they will need to make contact with the liquidator once appointed in order to recover unpaid wages.
During the 1980s, Patrick Punchâ€™s was one of the most popular pubs in Limerick. It later expanded to become a four-star hotel.
Originally owned by the Dunne Hotel Group, the business was placed into examinership in 2008. Between then, and early 2011, it was run by Price Waterhouse Coopers on behalf of Bank of Scotland.
The decision was taken to close down the property in February 2011, but a deal was secured by Carlow hotel operator Paul Browne at the last minute, a move which saved 44 jobs at the time.
It is understood there are now around 34 full-time and 14 part-time staff facing redundancy.
A member of management in the hotel confirmed the closure.
â€œThe company has gone into liquidation. The property has been handed back to Bank of Scotland, and it will be up to them to decide if it will continue trading,â€ said the management representative.
A creditorsâ€™ meeting is expected to be held in the next ten days, where a liquidator will be appointed to wind up the business, or attempt to continue operating it.
â€œWe have managed to keep the hotel open for two years, but unfortunately due to bad trading conditions over the winter, we have been forced to close. We have been unable to continue trading into the summer,â€ the source confirmed.
Punchâ€™s Hotel is the second city hotel to face difficulty this year: the Radisson Blu on the Ennis Road is currently in receivership.