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Pictures: Clerys workers protesting outside the HQ of the company that closed their store

The shop’s new owners, Natrium, finally broke their silence on the matter this morning.

Clerys protest. Pictured Gerry Markey w 30-year Clerys veteran Gerry Markey knocks on Natrium's door this afternoon Source: Photocall

Updated 14.23

CLERYS WORKERS ARE protesting this afternoon outside the headquarters of Natrium, the company that bought the marquee department store last Friday at the expense of 500 jobs.

Around 30 workers from the new defunct store made their presence known outside Natrium’s building, on Harcourt Terrace in Dublin’s south city centre.

Worker Gerry Markey, a 30-year veteran of Clerys, knocked on the firm’s door to deliver a letter of protest to Deirdre Foley, one of Natrium’s directors.

Clerys protest. Pictured Gerry Markey w

Clerys protest. Kathleen Griffin who`s Kathleen Griffin, whose son worked in Clerys for over 30 years, at today's protest

Clerys protest. Pictured Alan O'Brien w Alan O'Brien, who worked at Clerys for over 30 years Source: Photocall

The protest comes after Natrium finally broke their silence this morning over last week’s controversial sale, and said they will “significantly invest” in rejuvenating the store.

Natrium, which has been the centre of a growing controversy over its treatment of staff at the iconic store, says it will deliver a “best-in-class mixed use destination” and aims to revamp the whole of O’Connell Street.

There is no mention of the fate of former staff of the store, 500 of whom lost their jobs with no notice, but Natrium says it will create 1,000 jobs through the planning, design and building of the store, with a “minimum” of 1,700 jobs when the project is complete.

The company says that they “are conscious that the necessary closure of the department store has had a very serious impact on the former employees”.

A Natrium spokesperson said the refurbishment offered an opportunity for the northside of the city.

Clerys protest. Pictured today at a pro Source: Photocall Ireland

“The Clerys building can be transformed to create a major new mixed use destination in Dublin City centre and to create large numbers of sustainable jobs.  There is strong demand from international retailers and other commercial users for unique and best in class spaces within the city centre that is not currently being met.”

Clerys protest.Clerys workers protest o

At 5pm last Friday, staff were told that they no longer had jobs at the store after Natrium completed a deal to buy the store. The company had employed 130 staff and a further 330 were employed in concession stores.

Clerys protest.Clerys workers protest o Source: Photocall

Natrium’s statement in full:

Natrium recognises the considerable public interest in the future of Clerys following the events of the past week.  We plan to significantly invest in the rejuvenation of the Clerys building and adjacent properties, in compliance with Dublin City Council planning policy.  The intended rejuvenation, working in partnership with local stakeholders and other interested parties, will be based around designing and delivering a best-in-class mixed use destination for Dublin City Centre.  This will be an important catalyst in the repositioning of O’Connell Street as one of the great thoroughfares of Europe and the iconic Clerys building and clock will play a central role.
Natrium will provide more information and initial plans in the coming months.  Job creation will feature significantly in those plans with approximately 1,000 jobs supported throughout the planning, design, refurbishment and construction stages of the project over a two year period.  On completion, a predominantly retail-led development encompassing other commercial uses, subject to the planning process, will generate a minimum of 1,700 new sustainable long-term jobs in Dublin City Centre.
A rejuvenation of the Clerys building will assist in the revitalisation of this area, create significant new employment and will make a very real and lasting contribution to the City Centre.  We are advised that all issues with respect to the liquidation of the operating company are legally a matter for the court-appointed liquidator.  Natrium recognises that the Clerys building has been a very important institution for generations of Dubliners, and in particular for those who have worked there over the years.  We are conscious that the necessary closure of the department store has had a very serious impact on the former employees.
 A Natrium spokesperson said, “The Clerys building can be transformed to create a major new mixed use destination in Dublin City Centre and to create large numbers of sustainable jobs.  There is strong demand from international retailers and other commercial users for unique and best in class spaces within the City Centre that is not currently being met.  Natrium looks forward to proceeding with its plans for the Clerys properties and the surrounding area in compliance with Dublin City Council planning policy.”
 Natrium Ltd is a joint venture between D2 Private and funds managed by Cheyne Capital Management (UK) LLP.  It was established to invest in a range of real estate projects in Dublin and specifically Dublin City Centre. The acquisition of the Clerys property and adjacent properties is its first development project.

With additional reporting by Cianan Brennan.

Read: Watch: Locks changed in Clerys as shocked workers told all the jobs are gone

Read: Clerys workers to stage daily protests outside landmark store

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