Saturday 22 October 2016

Former Clerys workers oppose €150m plan to redevelop department store

Gordon Deegan

Published 01/09/2016 | 02:30

Clerys store on O'Connell Street. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Clerys store on O'Connell Street. Photo: Frank Mc Grath

A group of former Clerys workers has launched a bid to prevent the planned €150m redevelopment of the store site getting the green light.

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More than 35 former employees of Clerys lodged similar planning objections with Dublin City Council against OCS Properties Ltd's plan to transform the property into a six-storey retail and office scheme, including a top-floor destination area with a glass roof and outdoor dining area.

The precinct plan, totalling 350,000 sq ft, also includes a 176-bedroom hotel.

Documents lodged with the City Council by OCS Properties claim that 'Project D1' will create 3,990 direct, indirect and induced jobs during the scheme's operational and construction phase.

Economic consultants employed by OCS state that over its first 20 years, Project D1 would contribute €6.6bn to Gross Domestic Product and €1.7bn to the Exchequer.

Former Clerys worker and objector Susie Gaynor McGowan said yesterday: "There is a lot wrong with the plan. We are not Abu Dhabi here.

"This is O'Connell Street - O'Connell Street is a working-class area for decent, hard-working people. No one wants an open-top bar on O'Connell Street."

Ms Gaynor McGowan was one of 460 workers at the store left shocked last year by the abrupt closure of the business after 162 years trading.

She had worked with the firm for 11 years from the age of 19 and found out about the Clerys closure through Facebook. "It still feels like a family bereavement," she said.

Ms Gaynor McGowan vowed to oppose the plan all the way to An Bord Pleanála. She said: "We will take it as far as we need to go." Closing date for submissions is today.

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