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Agony for Ivan as Celtic Bookmakers closes two shops

The chain of bookies owned by Newstalk radio presenter and former minister Ivan Yates cuts jobs and sheds services.
Dec 1st 2010, 4:06 PM 1,536 0

THE WEXFORD-BASED bookmakers’ chain owned by former Fine Gael minister and current Newstalk presenter Ivan Yates has been forced to shut two outlets as a result of the economic downturn.

Celtic Bookmakers, which had 52 outlets across the country, has had to close its betting shops in Portlaoise and Carlow due to the fall off in custom, which had followed the fall in discretionary spending customers could afford given the economic climate.

The service – which had employed about 300 people nationwide before its cuts – was also forced to abandon its telephone betting service.

Andrew Yates, son of Ivan, told TheJournal.ie that the decision to pull the telesales service had been taken about two weeks ago, and that the service had ceased functioning yesterday when the firm’s licence to operate it expired.

“It was a natural thing when the licence renewal date came up,” Yates said. “Due to the overheads involved, and a lower [profit] margin on the phones than on the high street, we decided to close the phone service on the licence renewal date.”

The decision to close two of its 52 shops was also “quite sad” but one that was necessitated “due to severe decline in turnover”.

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The fate of the firm’s remaining outlets was secure, however, with the company decreeing that it was “very much business as usual.”

Celtic was founded in 1987 by Yates and his wife, Deirdre Boyd, who is the licence holder. Yates was a Fine Gael TD for Wexford from 1981 to 2002, having never lost an election, and was Minister for Agriculture from 1994 to 1997.

He also twice successfully ran for Wexford County Council, and once for Enniscorthy Urban District Council.

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Gavan Reilly

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