Wednesday 25 April 2018

'You've got to admire workers' – Dunne

Former supermarket supremo Ben Dunne talks to Ronald Quinlan about 1984 shop assistants' strike

WHEN businessman and former Dunnes Stores supremo Ben Dunne heard the news of Nelson Mandela's death last Thursday night, he stopped for a moment, said a little prayer and thought: "There goes a great man."

And although he never met Mr Mandela, their names will be forever associated with each other here in Ireland thanks to the courageous stand taken by 12 Dunnes Stores shop assistants who refused to handle produce from South Africa in protest at the country's Apartheid regime.

The strike which came in response to the company's decision to suspend 21-year-old checkout assistant Mary Manning for her refusal to handle South African fruit at her till began in July 1984 and went on for two and a half years.

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