Mid-Ulster bar owners say bank support packages 'will ensure our survival'

Dorman's in Magherafelt
Dorman's in Magherafelt

TWO of the oldest and best-known bars in Mid Ulster have availed of a support package from Ulster Bank which will ensure their survival when restrictions allow them to open their doors to customers again.

And their owners, who like most businesses in the hospitality sector had endured a complete cessation of trade, admitted: “Without this support we would, quite simply, be out of business.”

Dorman’s (including Secrets Nightclub) and Mary’s bar & restaurant in Magherafelt, which date back to 1905 and 1876 respectively, are owned and managed by Henry and Teresa McGlone, who've been at the forefront of the hospitality industry for more than 30 years.

They've been supported by Ulster Bank to secure a loan through the government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

The bank says it has assisted more than 1,600 business customers during crisis and has approved 95 per cent of requests for support, including capital repayment holidays, overdraft extensions, additional lending, fee free loans, and help through the likes of the CBILS scheme.

Bars owner Henry McGlone says: “The team at Ulster Bank have been incredibly helpful, moving very quickly to put in place this essential support after we faced a complete stop to trade due to social distancing measures.

“At this time of crisis, they have come to the fore to enable us to preserve our businesses - something which is not only important for us, but for the whole town.”

Mary’s, a 7,000 sq ft bar and restaurant on Market Street, underwent substantial investment when it was purchased by the McGlones in 2007 before reopening the following year, while Dorman’s on Queen Street remains in the Dorman family through current owners (Teresa McGlone's maiden name is Dorman).

In 2014 the 12,000 sq ft Dorman’s & the Opera underwent a transformation before reopening as Dorman’s and Secrets Nightclub, subsequently winning Northern Ireland's Nightclub of the Year award four years in a row.

Ulster Bank relationship director Damien Long said: “Mary’s and Dorman’s are a central part of the economy in Mid-Ulster, having seen substantial investment over the years, providing employment for dozens of people and attracting visitors from a wide catchment area.

“We are strongly committed to supporting customers in these significantly challenging times and have worked closely with the owners and their advisers to put in place packages to appropriately assist the businesses.”