Something, very Dodgy here, Time will Tell…

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Chinese owner of Monaghan golfing hotel blames ‘quality of décor’ and insists it will reopen despite unpaid wages

 • 21h ago

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The owner of a hotel where staff wages have gone unpaid has insisted he plans to reopen it after a revamp and claims the “quality of décor” is a key reason for a big deficit.

Chinese investor Kai Dai was responding after being asked about the future of the Nuremore Hotel in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.


Some workers were laid off when the hotel shut for a revamp at Christmas, but claim no refurbishment has taken place.

Others are still employed at its golf and leisure club although the facilities closed last month and they say they are owed wages.

Golf pro and course manager Bobby Fallon revealed a decision was taken at the club’s AGM this week to suspend membership to its 250 members from next month.

He said there are no funds available to maintain the course or repair equipment.

In response to queries from the Irish Independent, Mr Dai said the hotel is still a key asset within the Kylin Prime Group.

“I am happy to give you my assurance that there are no plans for the hotel to be used for a different purpose and that the intention is to reopen the hotel and associated facilities once refurbishment works are complete,” he said.

“The difficulties that the group is experiencing are exacerbated by the hotel running at a significant and continuing deficit. Based on hotel reviews, it is clear that, in part, this is due to the quality of decor and hence the decision to refurbish the accommodation.”

He said he recognised the importance of the hotel to the local economy.

“But equally we cannot be in a position going forward, where we are looking at regularly having to subsidise the hotel’s operations,” he said.

He said management will need to look at how it might enhance facilities to appeal to a national or international clientele, rather than relying solely on local business.

“Until that review is concluded, we will not initiate the refurbishment programme,” he added.

Mr Dai was one of the country’s biggest cash for visa brokers under the government’s Immigrant Investor Programme. The so-called ‘golden visa’ scheme was scrapped earlier this month and gardaí are investigating at least one complaint alleging fraud within the scheme.

Non-European investors could get visas if they invested a minimum of €1m for three years.

Mr Dai’s LinkedIn profile says he has been an entrepreneur for over 20 years and studied at Cambridge University. He is currently chair of the Kylin Prime Group.

Headquartered in Switzerland, it is described as a Sino-European organisation with offices in Ireland, the UK, China, Malta, Cyprus and Estonia. He was a founder and managing director of the Chinese Weekly, a publication with 555,000 daily readers.

Mr Fallon who began working at the hotel in 2002, said two weeks’ wages were paid this week, but another two weeks’ pay is owed.

In relation to Mr Dai’s plan to review the hotel’s facilities, he noted there is no timeframe.

“It wouldn’t fill you full of confidence,” he said. “If there was a timeframe on it, you could hold him to it. We have a number of employees on temporary layoff. How long is that going to be? There are people working there for over 40 years.” He said working at the hotel’s 160-acre golf club had been his dream job. Rory McIlroy played there in his early career and it has hosted the Irish PGA championship.

“It is one of the landmark courses in the country,” he said.

“We’ve had to suspend membership because of the condition of the golf course. It effectively means we’ve lost 250 customers.

“They will come back if the work is done but need a commitment from the owner that the course will be brought back up to standard.

“I was speaking to one guy who is there since 1966 and is our longest serving member.

“I am disheartened. The legs have been taken from under me.

“An ideal situation for us right now would be that he would sell it, or if there was a way the Government could force a receiver to take control and get everybody back to work. There were 92 people on the payroll in December and all these people are in limbo.”

A Department of Justice spokesperson said it was not possible to comment on individual applicants to the Immigrant Investor Programme.

He said any investment and project that is approved must continue to meet the programme’s criteria and, where these are not met, immigration permission may be withdrawn.

Of a total of 1,727 applications approved under the programme, 1,614 were from China, 33 from the US, 18 from Vietnam, and 62 from other parts of the world.

The spokesperson said the programme was set up over a decade ago and has been operated by the department to the highest professional standards. He said all applicants were subject to rigorous screening using reputable international databases.

“However, it is important that we keep all programmes under review including any implications for wider public policy, such as the continuing appropriateness and suitability of this programme for cultural, social and economic use,” he said.

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