County Antrim director disqualified

Date published: 30 May 2023

The Department for the Economy (the Department) has accepted a disqualification undertaking from the director of a company which traded in the retail of hot sandwiches / fast food.

High Court disqualification order made
Insolvency Service

The undertaking was received for five years from Stephen Tierney (31) of Creeve Walk, Andersonstown, Belfast in respect of his conduct as a director of Sub 22 Limited (“the Company”).

The Company operated a subway franchise from Stewartstown Road, Dunmurry, Belfast and went into liquidation on 20 February 2020 with estimated total assets available to creditors of £20,400, estimated liabilities to unsecured non-preferential creditors of £211,102 and an estimated deficiency as regards creditors of £190,702.  After taking into account the losses incurred by members (the shareholders) of the Company the estimated total deficiency was £190,802.

The Department accepted the disqualification undertaking from Stephen Tierney on 4 May 2023 based on the following unfit conduct which solely for the purposes of the disqualification procedure was not disputed:

  1. Causing and permitting Sub 22 Limited to operate a policy of discrimination against the Crown in that VAT due for the periods from 2017/2018 to 2019/2020 totalling £94,883.87 was retained and PAYE/NIC for the periods from 2017/2018 to 2019/2020 totalling £127,841.06 was also retained and this represented a policy of discrimination as substantial payments were made to other creditors during that time;
  2. Failing to co-operate with the liquidator by not delivering up a completed director’s questionnaire or the accounting books and records of the company when requested by the liquidator to do so;
  3. Failing to comply with Companies Act 2006 in that annual accounts for the years ended 31 March 2018 and 31 March 2019, were filed late; and
  4. Causing and permitting the Company to fail to comply with Companies Act 2006 in that the annual return for the period ending 5 March 2016 was not filed within the prescribed period.

The High Court has made one Disqualification Order and the Department has accepted two Disqualification Undertakings in the financial year commencing 1 April 2023.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Insolvency Practitioners acting as voluntary liquidators, administrative receivers and administrators have a duty to report unfit conduct to the Insolvency Service within the Department for the Economy.
  2. The aim of the Department is to bring disqualification proceedings against those directors of failed companies who have abused the privilege of limited liability status through negligence, incompetence or lack of commercial probity. The legislation contained in the Company Directors Disqualification (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 (“the 2002 Order”) is for the protection of the public and trading community but its operation should not inhibit genuine enterprise.
  3. In cases where a person is subject to either a Disqualification Order made by the Court or a Disqualification Undertaking accepted by the Department, that person shall not be a director of a company, act as a receiver of a company's property or in any way, whether directly or indirectly, be concerned or take part in the promotion, formation or management of a company unless he has the leave of the High Court. A disqualified person cannot obtain permission to act as an Insolvency Practitioner.
  4. Article 9 of the 2002 Order provides that where a director is found to be unfit he must be disqualified for a minimum period of two years, up to a maximum of fifteen years. The Courts have decided that the level of seriousness of unfit conduct can fall into three brackets with the top bracket of periods over ten years reserved for particularly serious cases, six to ten years reserved for cases which do not merit the top bracket and two to five years for cases where, although disqualification is mandatory, the case is less serious.
  5. The 2002 Order also allows directors, with the agreement of the Department, to avoid the need for a court hearing by offering an acceptable Disqualification Undertaking. This has exactly the same legal effect as a Disqualification Order made by the court, and will usually include a schedule identifying the director’s unfit conduct. The consequences of breaching a Disqualification Undertaking are the same as those for breaching a Disqualification Order.
  6. If anybody contravenes a Disqualification Order or breaches their Disqualification Undertaking they may be committing a criminal offence and could go to prison for up to two years or face a fine or both. Any person with information to suggest that a disqualified person has acted in contravention of this provision should contact The Insolvency Service’s Directors Disqualification Unit on 028 90 548582.
  7. The period of disqualification commences at the end of 21 days beginning with the day the Disqualification Undertaking was accepted by the Department.
  8. To keep up to date with news from the Department for the Economy you can follow us on the following social media channels:
  1. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at
  2. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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