Anger and tears outside store as hundreds protest
Over 500 protesters gathered outside Clerys department store to voice their anger after losing their jobs when the company went into liquidation last Friday.
"It's shocking, it's absolutely devastating, even after the flood - when we were forced to take unpaid leave - we came back and gave it our all, as we always did, and we tried to get everything back running for the company. To be treated like this at the very end is just disgraceful," said Terri O'Sullivan, who worked in the gift department at the store for 41 years.
Susan Parkhill (42), from Baldoyle, Dublin, said her whole life had become connected to Clerys: "My husband and I had a business in there that we opened in October in the tea rooms. I ran it with him and one other person. Basically, in the space of one day we lost two jobs and our business. We employed 11 people as well, so I feel horrendous. Our whole lives were caught up in Clerys."
Eileen O'Reilly (61), from Castleknock, Dublin, who was employed in the store for 15 years, said: "I'm sickened at what's happened, it's like a death in the family.
"We heard speculation for a few months that it was going to be sold but when we asked management they said it was only speculation, so we feared for our jobs for a long time. We knew something was going to happen but we didn't know what," she added.
The closure was despicable and underhanded, according to Labour Party TD Joe Costello.
"Clerys is 162 years' old and the idea that it might be closed for 12 months is unthinkable, particularly coming up to the 1916 centenary. We need answers from Natrium immediately," he added.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said his party has measures to protect staff.
"Sinn Féin brought forward a bill in 2012 which would have outlawed this type of behaviour and would have given workers statutory rights. Lots of Clerys staff I've met have been in tears here today. Those who are lucky enough to be in employment could be in this position tomorrow, so everyone needs to get behind the staff," he said.
Brian Murphy (70), from South Circular Road, Dublin, and other supporters in Bloomsday dress, claimed that what is usually a great day for the city has been marred by the closure of Clerys.
"December 8, probably the biggest day for shopping in the city, will see far less people coming to Dublin to shop now that Clerys is gone," he said.
Tánaiste Joan Burton was also in attendance.