Family business dream crushed by recession

A CO Limerick man spoke yesterday of how the recession has crushed a family dream and his hopes for a future in this country.

Three years ago Declan Murphy returned from Australia to his native Newcastle West to take the helm of the family men’s clothing business set up by his great-great-grandfather in 1889.

But yesterday Declan, 47, was busy clearing stock in the closing down sale at Murphy’s men’s clothing shop in Maiden Street.

His Australian born wife, Kate, and their three children have begun packing for their return to Sydney.

Declan worked with a leading clothing retailer in Sydney where his children, Ciara six, Patrick, four, and Sinead two, were born. He always had a dream to come back to Ireland and continue the family retailing tradition.

He said: “When we got back I gutted the store and completely renovated it and we reopened in June 2008.”

After a good start, Declan said the recession began to bite last year, but he wasn’t unduly worried at first.

“This year has been horrendous. Up to July the business had fallen 120% . Business was just gone. I came back because I love this country. I am a Limerick man, I don’t want to be leaving Limerick and Munster rugby and Thomond Park, but I don’t have a choice.

“I so much wanted to build on our great history in business here in Newcastle West and hand the business down to my kids, and have it go into a fifth generation of the family.

“I am very sad for my dad who lived over the shop, but I have found myself in a position of no longer being able to support my family here in Ireland.”

And he fears things will get worse here.

He said: “The Government needs to now stand up and take serious action to give us come hope.

“We have a great country. Unfortunately I now have to leave it again to make a life for my family in Australia.”

He was also very critical of the banks.

In coming weeks Declan, Kate and the Murphy children will commence the long journey back to Australia.

“I have my job to go back to at David Jones, who run 37 department stores in Australia,” Declan said. “I am very saddened and have been very moved by the many old customers who have been coming in over recent days.”

One of those customers, Jerry Scanlan, is a neighbour in Maiden Street.

He said: “I grew up with Declan and I got my Confirmation suit at Murphy’s and I got my wedding suit here too. It’s a sad day to see such great business people and great neighbours having to close down. It was a great shop for west Limerick people and I remember people home on holidays from England would always go in there.”


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