Over 500 protesters have gathered outside Clerys department store on O’Connell Street to voice their anger at the closure of the iconic Dublin building.
“I’m sickened at what’s happened, it’s like a death in the family,” said Eileen O’Reilly, 61, from Castleknock who was a flexi-full time employee in the store for 15 years.
“I was off on Friday but my daughter phoned me to tell me the place was sold. 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.
Susan Parkhill 42, from Baldoyle said: “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. It was very successful but we haven’t even thought of what our next step is because it’s too early to think about. We employed eleven people as well so I feel horrendous. Our whole lives were caught up in Clerys.”
The closure was despicable and underhanded according to Labour 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.
President of Sinn Feinn Gerry Adams said that the party would have set out measures to protect staff as far back as 2012.“Sinn Feinn brought forward a bill in 2012 which would have outlawed this type of behaviour and would have given workers statutory rights. We’ll see this happen increasingly if something is not done about it. 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 ge behind the Clerys staff.”
Brian Murphy, 70, from South Circular Road and several other supporters in Bloom’s Day 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 added.
Tanaiste Joan burton was also in attendance.