Jay, you could Bounce Back, on a Jumbing Castle?

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

Shane Phelan – Yesterday 12:59Follow



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

The colourful businessman, who has been synonymous with nightlife in Dublin for many years, was declared bankrupt on Monday after consenting to a petition from the Revenue Commissioners.


“Of course it isn’t 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 is upsetting. I worked hard and did a lot of things.”

The businessman, who at one stage had pub and restaurant interests employing more than 1,000 people, has total debts of €13.7m.

The Revenue petition which resulted in his bankruptcy related to six judgments secured between 2012 and 2018 totalling €435,917.

Mr Bourke (55) said the bulk of this sum related to a capital gains tax liability after he sold Bodega bar in Cork.

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

“It is important that people understand the bankruptcy process and that there is redemption. It is not what it used to be. It was 12 years until very recently.”

Mr Bourke added: “It is important people and society understands that entrepreneurs create a lot of jobs and they create a lot of income for the State.”

The businessman owes a total of €558,000 to the Revenue, but judgments have not been obtained in respect of €122,000 of this sum.

His bankruptcy comes just weeks after his efforts to get a personal insolvency arrangement writing off €12.2m in debt was dismissed by the High Court.

The arrangement had been predicated on some of his debts, between €570,000 and €750,000, being repaid from a return on an investment in insurance brokerage XS Direct, which he expected to be floated on the stock market.

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

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

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

It was consented to by Mr Bourke’s counsel Michael Vallely, instructed by Brennan & Co Solicitors.

Mr Justice Brian O’Moore made the bankruptcy order.

The vast majority of Mr Bourke’s debt – some €12.3m – stemmed from his involvement in Bellinter House, the Co Meath hotel he co-owned with the late music promoter John Reynolds. The sum is owed to Pepper Finance Corporation.

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

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

Mr Bourke has been in the pub, restaurant and hotels business since 1989, first opening the Wolfman Jack’s restaurant in Rathmines.

He went on to open Rí Rá nightclub, The Globe bar, the Front Lounge and Eden restaurant in Dublin, as well as Bodega and the Savoy in Cork, the 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 arising out of 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 it was at the centre of controversy over a boozy brunch event in August 2020 at which social distancing regulations were breached,

The Berlin D2 incident led gardaí to successfully object to the renewal of its licence.

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