Ireland

WATCH: Former Debenhams staff urge Limerick people to shop local

STAFF members made redundant when Debenhams closed its Limerick store have picketed the store’s premises in O’Connell Street.

There was despair after the Irish operation of the department store were placed in liquidation after its British parent firm withdrew its support in April. The move saw 110 workers locally lose their jobs.

More than three months on, workers are still waiting for their redundancy entitlement, and have not been able to get into the former premises to even collect their belongings.

Their hope is by picketing the outlet, they can prevent stock leaving the store, in the hope that it will persuade liquidator Kieran Wallace of KPMG, to act.

Aisling O’Gorman who had worked at Debenhams for 10 years, said: “We are calling on the Limerick public to support our campaign. We are persuading people to boycott Debenhams. The stores are gone. We don’t want the online business here. They have replaced us. We are not robots, we are people who have lost their jobs so we don’t want goods coming in from the UK.”

She wants local people to consider also ‘unfollowing’ Debenhams on its social media channels.

“Don’t support them, they haven’t supported our own. They’ve not supported us, they’ve left us here with nothing. You cannot replace us with kiosks and an online service. If the shops are gone, the online buisness should be gone. That’s why we are calling on the Limerick public to stand with us,” she said.

Aisling – who hopes to have the support of unionised staff in firms like Tesco and Penneys – has urged people to shop locally where it’s possible.

“Get to your corner shops, support your local people. Just keep your money in Ireland, keep your money in Limerick as well,” she added.

Mandate officials were present at the demonstration, as was local councillor John Loftus, Donna McGettigan from Shannon Town and former member John Loftus.

Similar protests took place today outside former Debenhams branches in Dublin and Cork.

The Limerick Leader has contacted Mr Wallace for comment.

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