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Examiner appointed to Fossett's circus

(26 Nov 2014)

A judge has granted Fossett’s Circus the protection of the Circuit Civil Court from creditors.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane has appointed Joseph Walsh, of Hughes Blake Accountants, as examiner.

Barrister Ross Gorman told the court the circus would now continue with its show at Winter Funderland in the RDS, which starts on Friday 5 December and runs until 11 January.

He said the company had reached a stage where it had been unable to pay its debts, but an independent firm of accountants, which had prepared a report for the court, believed the circus had a reasonable prospect of survival.

He said that if an examiner was not appointed the company would have to go into liquidation and all of its employees would lose their jobs.

Under examinership, the company's unsecured creditors would receive some dividend and the show, with the guidance of the court, could go on.

The court heard that if Mr Walsh could prepare a scheme of arrangement to facilitate the circus's survival then its creditors might be able to trade profitably with the company into the future.

Mr Gorman said part of the examiner's job would be to deal with an outstanding debt of €500,000 arising from a family dispute, which had led to High Court proceedings in 1992 and that had not been settled until 2008.

The €500,000 debt had increased with interest to €1.2m and company directors Robert Fossett Jr and Edward Fossett Jr had instructed their solicitors Patrick Donaghy and Company to seek protection of the court.

On top of other significant debts, the €1.2m was owed under a settlement to three aunts of the directors.

Barrister Ronan Killeen, counsel for the aunts, Mona Gerbola and her sisters Mary and Amy Garcia, told the court Ms Gerbola had made an affidavit on behalf of all three of them regarding disputed partnership proceedings in the High Court.

The sisters supported the application for the appointment of an examiner.

In her affidavit, Ms Gerbola told the court her sisters Mary and Amy performed in the circus into the 1980s.

Judge Linnane heard that the famous family business could trace its origins back to the 1880s.