Dubliners campaign against Bewleys’ closure

DUBLINERS turned out yesterday to campaign against the closure of the landmark Bewleys café on Grafton Street.

Dozens of people protested outside the historic coffee shop and restaurant calling on its owners, the Campbell Bewley group, to keep it open.

Bewleys last month announced the closure of the two remaining cafés last month with the loss of 230 jobs. It said the outlets had been making losses for several years despite €12m being invested in various revamps. It said the cafés have lost €4m in the last couple of years and were not financially viable.

The 108-year-old Grafton Street outlet is amongst the most popular tourist attractions in Dublin but it has failed to make money and has not proved popular with young people.

Paul Quilligan, who launched the Save Bewleys Cafés campaign, is urging people to sign a petition to make the café’s owners change their mind. “We are trying to get as many Dubliners as possible to show their support. The door has not completely closed on us. I’ve been coming here for more years than I care to remember and Bewleys is essential to the Dublin vibe and I would be lost without it,” said Mr Quilligan, who visits the outlet every day.

“I like the atrium. There is something about sitting in the Atrium, it is so quiet and away from it all.”

Bewleys insisted yesterday that the two outlets would close next Tuesday evening.

“While very regrettable, the closures follow the most careful consideration of all circumstances involved, over many years,” the company said in a statement.

Green Party TD John Gormley called on the Government to buy the site and maintain the building.

“If you look to any tourist book on Dublin, Bewleys is featured. It is a landmark and part of our heritage and for that reason we have to protect it. Look at what happened at Farmleigh House, look at the wonderful restaurant up there; the Government did that they could do the same here,” said Mr Gormley.

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