Former Clerys staff group oppose development plan

A group of former Clerys workers have launched a concerted bid aimed at preventing the €150m redevelopment of the Dublin department store from getting the green light.

More than 35 former Clerys employees have lodged objections with Dublin City Council against OCS Properties Ltd’s plan to transform the property into a six-storey retail and office scheme, to including a top-floor glass roof and outdoor dining area.

The plan totals 350,000 sq ft and includes a 176-bedroom hotel linked by bridge to the building on O’Connell St.

Documents lodged with the city council by OCS Properties show that the ‘Project D1’ scheme would create 3,990 direct and indirect jobs during construction.

Economic consultants employed by OCS Properties say Project D1 would contribute €1.7bn to the exchequer over 20 years.

The scheme’s architect, Henry J Lyons, told the council the proposal “seeks to generate a vibrant quarter within the centre of the city which will see the repair, restoration, and regeneration of the original Clerys building”.

Susie Gaynor McGowan, a former Clerys employee, objects to the plan and said she hopes the council refuses permission.

She said: “There is a lot wrong with the plan. We are not Abu Dhabi here. This is O’Connell St. O’Connell St is a working-class area for decent, hard-working people. No one wants an open-top bar on O’Connell St.”

Ms Gaynor McGowan expressed concern over the height of the building and the large amount of office space.

She was one of 460 workers at the store who were told in June last year that Clerys was to close after 162 years of trading.

She learned of the closure via Facebook.

“I was shocked, stunned, angry, and disappointed. It still feels like a family bereavement,” said Ms Gaynor McGowan.

At the time, the then employment minister, Ged Nash, said that the Clerys workers had been treated in a “cold and callous” manner.

Ms Gaynor McGowan has vowed to oppose the new plan.

Her fellow former Clerys worker Gerry Markey also objected. He said: “We were unfairly treated — we didn’t do anything wrong.”

A number of the objections by the Clerys workers are quite similar and express concern that Project D1 has earmarked little space for retail operations.

Other ex-employees of Clerys have objected on the grounds that the proposal does not adhere to the Dublin City Council scheme of special planning control for O’Connell St and its environs.


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