D-Day for 200 staff at Shelbourne Hotel

Brian O’Mahony, Chief Business Correspondent

Fears that the hotel founded in 1824 will be shut to customers for a full 12 months have circulated for some time. While staff fear the worst, it has also been suggested that an entire closure will be avoided. Either way, staff will know their fate tomorrow when they are briefed about the plans for the hotel which was bought before Christmas by the team that have taken over the supermarket chain, Superquinn.

Rumours that a meeting was due to be held last week proved unfounded, but staff have been requested by the new management to attend a meeting tomorrow morning.

The new owners include Jerry O’Reilly and Brendan McNamara, who are the non-public face behind the recent buyout of Superquinn, founded by Senator Feargal Quinn in the early 1960s.

Unconfirmed reports said the management were leaning towards a full closure for 12 months which would involve full-time staff being put on basic wages for the period.

The possibility still exists, however, that the hotel will continue to provide bar and lounge services on the ground floor for the duration of the renovations.

Some months back the hotel asked to have its star rating removed for 2005 on the grounds it would not be able to provide patrons with a full range of services during the renovation period.

After weeks of speculation, details of the plan will be given to the staff tomorrow.

The Shelbourne was bought by the property duo from Royal Bank of Scotland who acquired the business from Le Meridien, that had built up debts of E1 billion over a number of years.

Last week the hotel was ordered to apologise to a former employee and pay her 9,000 after the Equality Tribunal ruled she had been harassed by her manager on race grounds and then victimised when she complained.

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