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Debenhams workers’ Henry Street picket broken up by gardaí  

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Maureen Carroll from Goatstown with Debenhams staff & supporters marking the one year anniversary of the closure of the Debenhams Store on Henry Street, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Maureen Carroll from Goatstown with Debenhams staff & supporters marking the one year anniversary of the closure of the Debenhams Store on Henry Street, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Maureen Carroll from Goatstown with Debenhams staff & supporters marking the one year anniversary of the closure of the Debenhams Store on Henry Street, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Former Debenhams workers, who have been protesting for over a year, had their picket line in Dublin broken up by gardaí last night. 

The workers have been picketing at the Henry St store both to protest for redundancy packages and to stop liquidators KPMG from removing stock from the store.

Protesters barricaded themselves into the loading dock of the shop – which reaches to Parnell Street – to prevent the stock from being taken.

A video from the scene shows people gathering in the loading bay with a number of gardaí present.

In the video, protesters can be heard saying “up the workers”, “power to the people” and “we shall not be moved”.

Shop steward Jane Crowe told Independent.ie that ten garda vans arrived at the scene at around 11am with barricades.

"The gardaí came in and took our names and proceeded to carry us out of the loading bay,” she said.

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“The majority of us are mothers and grandmothers. A 70-year-old man that has been a great support to us was picked up and brought out.

“The worst thing of all of this is the gardaí are facilitating [receivers] KPMG to do non-essential work during a Level 5 restriction.

“They say the court order allows this, but I don’t think KPMG are above the law of the land.”

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett joined workers last night at the picket line.

Posting a video of the protestors to Twitter last night, he said: “On Parnell street. Hundreds of gardai acting in collusion with KPMG trying to break the year long Debenhams strike in the middle of the night.

"Come down to support if you’re around. This is a fight for all workers.”

Paul Murphy TD said: “Waking up to see all the stories of Gardai forcibly removing Debenhams workers and helping KPMG break their protest by removing stock in the middle of the night in Henry Street.

“Shame on them, KPMG and Debenhams. Solidarity with the workers.”

April 9, 2021, marked one year since the liquidation of Debenhams in Ireland which saw the loss of around 1,000 jobs across the country.

The Government has agreed to provide a support fund of €3m to former Debenhams workers.

The €3m fund will be available to redundant Debenhams workers and will allow workers to claim supports such as education, training, and business start-ups.

However, the €3m retraining and upskilling fund was previously rejected by workers as it did not deliver workers cash payments – which was a concern to those seeking retirement.

Former workers have vowed that they will continue to protest and fight the removal of stock from stores until a redundancy settlement is agreed.

“An Garda Síochána attended a premises in Dublin City Centre as required in the execution of a High Court Order on the evening of the 22nd April 2021,” a garda spokesperson said.

“An Garda Síochána has no further comment at this time.”

KPMG has been contacted for a statement.



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