THE focal point of one of Dublin's most iconic shopping centres will close next month.
And locals are fearful that their entire shopping centre will soon also follow leaving them without the much needed facility.
Tesco Ireland yesterday told staff in its Ballymun store that the supermarket will close on April 27 next.
The supermarket, which has previously stood as a Quinnsworth and also a Crazy Prices outlet store, has been at the heart of the Ballymun Shopping Centre and the north Dublin community for more than 40 years.
However, the centre, which has not been part of the major regeneration project that has occurred in Ballymun, is now run-down and in receivership, having previously been owned by the now collapsed Treasury Holdings.
A spokesperson for Tesco last night said all 50 workers will be redeployed to other stores in the area.
"Ballymun Shopping Centre has seen a significant decline in customer numbers over the last number of years and Tesco is now one of the last remaining retail stores in the centre," he said.
Workers only learned of the closure yesterday morning when management called them into a meeting to deliver the heartbreaking news.
One worker, who did not want to be named, told the Herald she was devastated by the news and said she "had been crying all morning".
"They're saying we'll be moved to other Tesco stores but the news is devastating. We were like a family in there and nobody wants to move. It's dreadful news altogether," she said.The shop had become an institution for many locals who expressed their shock and regret following the news. They said the shopping centre could not survive without Tesco.
THE CENTRE HAD BEEN AN ON-GOING SOURCE OF CONFLICT BETWEEN NAMA AND THE BALLYMUN REGENERATION GROUP WHO ISSUED A STATEMENT LAST YEAR CALLING ON THE ASSET MANAGEMENT AGENCY TO REVEAL ITS PLANS FOR REDEVELOPMENT OF THE CENTRE.
Local councillor Paul McAuliffe said it was "an insult" to locals that the shopping centre had not been given a makeover.
Labour TD John Lyons called for all stakeholders involved in Ballymun Shopping Centre to bring forward new plans.