'We're asking for the government's help': Debenhams staff stage protest outside Dáil

The closure of the Irish branches of Debenhams saw the loss of 2,000 jobs.

DEBENHAMS STAFF TOOK to the streets outside the Dáil today to call on politicians to take action to protect the jobs of workers. 

The closure of the store saw the loss of 2,000 jobs and was announced after the UK retailer told staff that the business would be going into liquidation. 

The action outside the Dáil today followed on from other socially-distanced protests in recent weeks by staff calling on the company to offer full redundancy packages. 

Dozens of staff, some holding placards, gathered along Kildare Street and outside the Dáil this morning. 

More action is also planned for Friday across the country. 

Currently, many workers will only receive statutory redundancy. 

The workers are now calling on the liquidation process to be frozen or extended until after the Covid-19 crisis. 

One worker, Ann Peppard, told ”the government has done unprecedented things during this crisis”.

“But behind the scenes, liquidation is still going on,” she said. 

Peppard said that workers wanted to hand a letter to Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys to ask for for the government’s support. 

“We need a bigger voice,” Peppard said. 

Peppard said that the mood among workers was positive and that some TDs had stopped and talked to protesters this morning.

“Debenhams has always been one great big family. It’s come to light more since we lost our jobs,” she said. 

“There is no shouting or chanting. We’re quietly standing here with messages on our boards asking for the government’s help.”

Debenhams had operated four stores in Dublin, two in Cork and others in Galway, Limerick, Newbridge, Tralee and Waterford.

The Covid-19 pandemic has already had a severe impact on the Irish economy. According to the Central Statistics Office, there are now 602,107 people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment while 425,204 people are benefiting from the government’s Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. 

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