Boardroom ban for third director associated with failed Potted Hen

A director at DCRNI, which owned the Potted Hen in St Anne's Square, has been banned for five years
Gary McDonald Business Editor

A DIRECTOR of the company which ran the once award-winning Potted Hen restaurant in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter has been disqualified for five years following the collapse of the popular eatery.

Liam McAtamney (41) from Ross Mill Avenue in Belfast was banned in respect of his conduct as a director of DCRNI Ltd, which operated as a licensed restaurant under the trade name of The Potted Hen.

He's the third director associated with the premises to have come before the authorities.

The 72-seater French bistro-style restaurant opened in November 2010, the first eatery in the £100 million St Anne's Square development, and was seen at the time as blazing a trail in Belfast's up and coming Cathedral Quarter.

In 2012 it was named the best restaurant in Northern Ireland at the National Restaurant Awards in London and expanded in size that year to create a private dining area on the second floor.

But its difficulties began in April 2014 when a separate company Oregano Belfast Limited, under the directorship of Dermot and Catherine Regan, collapsed owing £365,453. They were later banned for eight years each.

In turn DCRNI - of which the Regans were also once directors - went into liquidation in January 2016 (less than two years after McAtamney became a director) with debts of £304,025.

The Department for the Economy brought the case against McAtamney, and it accepted the disqualification undertaking based on a number of areas of unfit conduct which he didn't dispute.

It included causing DCRNI to hold on to more than £166,000 due in various taxes including VAT (£67,304), national insurance (£66,058) and income tax (£33,424) for the tax years 2014/15 and 2015/16.

A number of other failures were found, including not co-operating with the liquidator, failing to maintain proper company records and failing to file accounts on time.

McAtamney also admitted permitting the company to misuse its bank account by providing insufficient funds to honour direct debits.

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