One of the country’s best-known travel agencies, Joe Walsh Tours, which ceased operations earlier this year due to the impact of travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, will reopen after the buyout from the company to its liquidators by a former director.
In April, Joe Walsh Pilgrimtours Ltd, operating under several different brands, said it was unable to meet its obligations to customers.
KPMG was appointed to wind up the business and put it up for sale in May.
But following a competitive sales process, David Walsh, who had been involved in running the business before it closed, bought the business and some assets, including the Joe Walsh Tours brand, from the liquidators.
The Pilgrimages Abroad & Concorde Travel brands were also acquired as part of the transaction.
The price paid was not disclosed by either party.
When it went into liquidation, Joe Walsh Tours and its related activities had liabilities of approximately 5 million euros.
But it is understood that the business and the assets were sold for less than this amount.
Most of the 3,000 creditors were people who booked and paid for tours.
When it closed, the company had put in place a bond with the Aviation Regulatory Commission to cover passengers who had booked package tours.
The Commission is still in the process of reimbursing all former customers who had to leave the Republic of Ireland.
UK customers were reimbursed through the full payment protection policy provided by Travel & General Insurance Services Ltd.
The other creditors included Revenue, the owners and various commercial creditors.
The new owner of the company said he is currently in the process of applying for a license from the Aviation Regulatory Commission.
Its intention is to resume offering travel services in a range of specialist tourism markets, including pilgrimages.
“We are delighted to announce the reopening of Joe Walsh Tours,” said a spokesperson.
“Parishes, group leaders, dioceses and special interest groups in Ireland have repeatedly expressed their need for the assistance of a company specializing in licensed and bonded group travel, when coordinating group trips abroad and we are ready to facilitate these groups. “
Founded in 1961 by Joe Walsh from Co Down, Joe Walsh Tours is one of the oldest travel agencies in the state.
He became particularly known for his specialized tours to pilgrimage destinations.
Before the pandemic, it had offices in the UK, Europe and the US and employed more than 100 people.