Jay Bourke plans to ‘bounce back’ after being declared bankrupt: ‘Of course it’s not the end of things’

Well-known publican and restaurateur Jay Bourke has spoken of his hope to “bounce back” after being declared bankrupt.

he colorful businessman, synonymous with Dublin’s nightlife for many years, was declared bankrupt on Monday after consenting to a petition from the tax commissioners.

The Indo Daily: Jay Bourke on his mountain of debt — ‘Goldman Sachs is a giant bloodsucking squid’

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“Of course it’s not the end of things,” he told Independent.ie.

“I am not under a bunker in Mariupol and I am not dead like so many of my friends.

“Obviously after doing so much work, it’s overwhelming. I’ve worked hard and achieved a lot.

The businessman, who at one point had interests in pubs and restaurants employing more than 1,000 people, has total debts of 13.7 million euros.

The tax petition that led to his bankruptcy concerned six judgments obtained between 2012 and 2018 for a total amount of €435,917.

Mr Bourke (55) said most of that money was related to capital gains tax after he sold the Bodega bar in Cork.

Referring to a change in the law which reduced the minimum bankruptcy period to just one year, he said: “It is only a 12 month process.

“It is important that people understand the bankruptcy process and that there is a buyout. It’s not what it used to be. That was 12 years ago until very recently.

Mr Bourke added: ‘It is important for people and society to understand that entrepreneurs create a lot of jobs and they create a lot of revenue for the state.

The businessman owes a total of €558,000 to the tax authorities, but judgments have not been obtained for €122,000 of this sum.

His bankruptcy comes just weeks after his efforts to secure a personal insolvency agreement canceling €12.2million in debt were rejected by the High Court.

The arrangement was based on repaying some of his debts, between €570,000 and €750,000, from a return on an investment in XS Direct insurance brokerage, which he expected to see enter in stock exchange.

However, those hopes were dashed when the brokerage went into receivership in February.

Had Mr Bourke been successful in securing the PIA, the deal would have allowed him to keep his €1.4million family home in Rathmines, south Dublin.

The bankruptcy petition was proposed by attorney Garret Flynn, appearing with Byrne Wallace Solicitors, on behalf of the Collector General.

It was consented to by Mr. Bourke’s attorney, Michael Vallely, on behalf of Brennan & Co Solicitors.

Judge Brian O’Moore issued the bankruptcy order.

The vast majority of Mr Bourke’s debt – around £12.3million – stemmed from his involvement in Bellinter House, the Co Meath hotel he owned with the late music promoter John Reynolds. The sum is due to Pepper Finance Corporation.

In a recent interview on the Indo Daily podcast, Mr Bourke claimed it was a settled debt and he planned to fight it in the High Court.

However, his bankruptcy now casts doubt on this course of action.

Mr Bourke has worked in the pub, restaurant and hotel industry since 1989, first opening Wolfman Jack’s restaurant in Rathmines.

He went on to open Rí Rá nightclub, The Globe bar, Front Lounge and Eden restaurant in Dublin, as well as Bodega and the Savoy in Cork, Garavogue bar in Sligo and the Café Bar Deli group.

In 2017 the High Court disqualified him from acting as a company director for seven years following the liquidation of the former Shebeen Chic pub on South Great George’s Street in Dublin.

Mr Bourke was the manager of the Berlin D2 bar on Dame Street in Dublin when he was at the center of a controversy over a boozy brunch in August 2020 in which social distancing rules were broken,

The Berlin D2 incident led gardaí to successfully oppose the renewal of its license.

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