County Down directors agree to disqualification

Date published: 27 December 2022

The Department for the Economy (the Department) has accepted disqualification undertakings from the directors of a company in the ‘Hotels and similar accommodation’ industry.

Director Disqualification Undertaking
Director Disqualification Undertaking

The undertakings were received for four years from Cahal Arthurs (56) and Mary Arthurs (42) of Ballyeasborough Road, Kircubbin, Newtownards in respect of their conduct as directors of Portaferry Hotel Ltd (“the Company”).

The Company acted as provider of Hotels and similar accommodation, trading from 10 The Strand, Portaferry, Newtownards, BT22 1PE, and went into liquidation on 2 August 2019 with an estimated deficiency as regards creditors of £268,018.69. There was a total of £2.00 owing as Share Capital, resulting in an estimated deficiency as regards members of £268,020.69.

The Department accepted the disqualification undertakings from Cahal Arthurs & Mary Arthurs on 05 December 2022 based on the following unfit conduct which solely for the purposes of the disqualification procedure was not disputed:

  • Causing and permitting the company to operate a policy of discrimination against the Crown between 03 August 2017 through to the cessation of trade on 31 May 2019. Causing and permitting Portaferry Hotel Ltd to retain monies totalling £236,054.88 due to the Crown as at the date of liquidation. This represented 88% of the company’s overall estimated deficiency in respect of PAYE, NIC and VAT. Furthermore, operating a policy of discrimination in that significant payments were made to trade creditors and Directors at a time when the HMRC debt continued to increase;
  • Causing and permitting Portaferry Hotel Ltd to fail to comply with the Companies Act 2006 in that annual accounts for the period ending 30 June 2018 were never filed; and
  • Causing and permitting Portaferry Hotel Ltd to fail to comply with the Companies Act 2006 in that confirmation statements for the periods ending 06 January 2017, 06 January 2018 and 06 January 2019 were not filed within the prescribed time.

The Department has accepted eleven Disqualification Undertakings and the Court has made one Disqualification Order in the financial year commencing 1 April 2022.

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 you can follow us on the following social media channels:

9. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at

10. 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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