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'We're in for the long haul' - Employees stage sit-in protest at pub



A sit-in at a city pub has entered its third day and staff say they are in it for the long haul.

On Tuesday morning staff at the Park Inn in Waterford City were shocked when they were told by solicitor that the bar would be closing immediately without any prior warning.

The Park Inn, which is located at the junction of Paddy Browns Road and Tyrone Avenue in Waterford, was put up for sale last June and staff were hopeful that a new buyer could be found.

They were told that an offer had been accepted by all parties, believed to be in the region of €500,000, to purchase the premises as a going concern, but this offer had been rejected by Bank of Ireland and all jobs were gone, without any notice.

The staff were paid up their final week’s wages, plus any holidays that were owed.

Duty manager Derek Ryan, who has worked in the Park Inn for the past 18 years, said that all members of staff, the three full-timers and six part-time employees decided to stage a sit-in protest at the course of action.

“We want to hold onto our jobs and we want the bank to backtrack,” he told the Irish Independent.

"Everyone was in total agreement and there was no-one going to back out of it."

“This is more than just a public house, it is like a community centre and we have raised considerable sums for local causes down through the years,” he added.

“We’re taking it in shifts as can’t all be here 24 hours a day.”

“We’re tired, but we know we are in it for the long haul.”

The staff held a rally outside the premises last night in front of a crowd of between 400-500 people, with Ryan admitting it was "emotional" occasion addressing so many family and friends.

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Bank of Ireland has issued a statement it will not deal with individuals, but Ryan says that talks with local councillors and trade unions are ongoing to bring a resolution to the situation.

Declan Whooley

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