Tuesday 26 September 2017

Poor sales force €1.3m Dail shop to shut down

The glass-walled shop provided employment for Rehab staff, who will now be transferred to work in its newsagents’ outlets
The glass-walled shop provided employment for Rehab staff, who will now be transferred to work in its newsagents’ outlets

Michael Brennan and Lise Hand

IT WAS known as the dearest little shop in the country – but the €1.3m Dail shop is to be shut down. The operators of 'An Siopa' have decided that it is not making enough money for it to be viable.

Unlike the Dail bar.

The glass-walled shop inside the main gate of Leinster House was operated by Rehab and provided employment for people with disabilities.

But it struggled to make money because the Dail was usually only in session for three days per week and the wider public could not access it inside the gates of Leinster House.

In a statement, Rehab said it regretted taking the decision to close the shop but that its location was "not viable". All staff will be redeployed to other outlets operated under its 'Smiles Newsagents' brand.

It was opened in 2008 by the former taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the former ceann comhairle John O'Donoghue.

But the shop soon became the subject of controversy when it emerged that the total cost of the 35sqm building was over €1.3m – making it one of the most expensive of its kind.

Due to the glass walls, the shop was very hot for staff to work in during sunny weather. It was cold in winter, so special heaters had to be installed.

The Oireachtas Commission, which runs Leinster House, has pledged to find a replacement operator for the shop. It said: "The Oireachtas Commission is proud of its association with Rehab enterprises – and in particular its running of An Siopa – and very much regrets the decision to cease operating."

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News