County Down director agrees to disqualification

Date published: 17 November 2021

The Department for the Economy (the Department) has accepted a disqualification undertaking from the director of a business operating in hotels and similar accommodation.

Director disqualification undertaking
Director disqualification undertaking

The undertaking was received for eight years from Brian Scullion (62) of Old Rectory Park, Banbridge in respect of his conduct as director of Hotel Seagoe Limited.

The Company provided hotels and similar accommodation trading from 22 Upper Church Lane, Portadown, Craigavon, Co. Armagh, BT63 5JE and went into Liquidation on 3 May 2018 with an estimated deficiency as regards creditors of £415,168.01. There was a total of £1 owing as Share Capital, resulting in an estimated deficiency as regards members of £415,169.01. 

The Department accepted the disqualification undertaking from Brian Scullion on 18 October 2021 based on the following unfit conduct which solely for the purposes of the disqualification procedure was not disputed:

  • Acting as a De-facto director of Hotel Seagoe Limited during the period from 26 March 2015 to the date of liquidation, and whilst disqualified by way of undertaking effective from 24 April 2015 for a period of 7 years as a result of his conduct as director of Overtown Properties Limited;
  • Causing and permitting the company to operate a policy of discrimination against the Crown from 2016/17. Causing and permitting Hotel Seagoe Limited to retain monies totalling £166,475.66 due to the Crown as at the date of liquidation. Furthermore, operating a policy of discrimination in that significant payments were made to trade creditors and third parties at a time when the HMRC debt continued to increase;
  • failing to learn from his previous insolvency and / or demonstrating a repeated pattern of unfit conduct;
  • failing to comply with the legislation in that annual accounts for the year ended 31 March 2016 were not filed within the prescribed period;
  • causing and permitting Hotel Seagoe Limited to fail to comply with the legislation in that the Annual Return for the year ended 05 March 2016, and the Confirmation Statement for the period ended 05 March 2017 were not filed within the prescribed period;

The Department has accepted twenty three Disqualification Undertakings in the financial year commencing 1 April 2021.

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. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at pressoffice@economy-ni.gov.uk
  9. 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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