Dublin based staff at Debenhams city centre store on Henry street today have had their protest shut down by Gardaí for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.
This is despite the news today that their fellow workers in Cork described Gardaí as fully supportive of their coinciding protest.
Gardaí on Henry Street in Dublin swiftly broke up the demonstration earlier today (Tuesday).
It was staged in protest of the way in which Debenhams bowed out of the Irish market.
The closure saw the loss of 2,000 jobs and was announced after the UK retailer told staff that the business would be going into liquidation.
Before it closed, around 300 people had worked in the Henry Street shop, with some staff let go after working for the company for 24 years.
Shop Stewart Jane Crowe says they cleared their plan with a number of local garda stations beforehand, but this was disputed by Gardai on the ground.
”They’re saying its non-essential, to us this is essential. We were all going to keep a safe distance. We have gloves we have masks.”
Debenhams Staff believe the retailer used covid-19 as an opportunity to bail out of Ireland without paying redundancy packages.
Around 10 socially distanced protesters – wearing masks and gloves – were moved on from the front of the store by gardaí, before continuing the demonstration on nearby Moore Street.
Workers say they’re devastated.
One woman said ”We are more like family than work colleagues and all of a sudden the whole family is ripped apart.”
Another man said ”Robbed. Disgusting. Can’t do that. Can’t get away with it. I’ve family and a mortgage like everybody else, it’s not right.”
A Similar protest planned for the Cork store on Patrick Street concluded peacefully, with Gardaí said to have been supportive and understanding.