Cork Mayor criticises attempt to stop Debenhams protest in Dublin

Hundreds of Debenhams workers are protesting outside six of its Irish stores today in pursuit of improved redundancy following the appointment of provisional liquidators to the retail giant.
Cork Mayor criticises attempt to stop Debenhams protest in Dublin
Workers who were laid off by Debenhams staged socially distant protests on Tuesday afternoon. Picture: Dan Linehan.

with reporting from Digital Desk Staff

The Lord Mayor of Cork John Sheehan has criticised attempts to stop a protest at Debenhams in Dublin today.

Workers who were laid off by Debenhams staged socially distant protests on Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking to Niall Boylan on Classic Hits about the Debenhams protests around Ireland, Mr Sheehan said that believes the Gardaí in Moore street, Dublin “got it wrong” when they attempted to move some of the Dublin workers on.

He said that attempting to stop the protest “showed a lack of common sense and discretion” as the workers were abiding by social distancing and Government guidelines.

Louise Murphy and former staff take part in a social distance protest outside Debenhams on Patrick Street, Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan.
Louise Murphy and former staff take part in a social distance protest outside Debenhams on Patrick Street, Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan.

Last week, the High Court appointed provisional liquidators to the Irish operation after it was told by the company that it is insolvent and could not pay its debts.

Mr Sheehan attended the Cork protest in support of the workers.

'We are not going to lie down' says protesting Debenhams worker

Hundreds of Debenhams workers are protesting outside six of its Irish stores today in pursuit of improved redundancy following the appointment of provisional liquidators to the retail giant.

Protests are taking place at Debenhams' Henry St, Blanchardstown, Tallaght and Blackrock outlets in Dublin and outside its Mahon Point and flagship St Patrick's St stores in Cork.

The workers, who are observing social distancing guidelines, say they are ramping up their campaign for improved redundancy payments following the appointment of provisional liquidators to the chain before the Easter weekend.

The decision has resulted in the closure of 11 Irish outlets and the loss of up to 2,000 jobs.

But shop steward at the St Patrick's St outlet, Valerie Conlon, said staff, including some with up to 30-years service, are in line for statutory redundancy only.

She said she and her colleagues don't want to protest but feel they have no option.

"We want to show our employer that we are not going to lie down, that we are not just numbers on a sheet, that we are employees and that we count, and that we are going to fight," she said.

Many of the staff on the protest line in Cork city this morning worked with Roche's Stores and continued to work with Debenhams when it took over the landmark building on St Patrick's St when it launched here in 1996.

Workers who could not join the physical protests staged their own protests outside their own homes and posted images on social media.

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