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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 26 May, 2020
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Dubliners said goodbye to the Metro Herald today - and things got emotional

We saw hugs, Christmas cards, a cheeky fiver, and plenty of sad faces on the streets this morning.

THIS MORNING WAS the last time the people of Dublin will see the famous smiling faces of the Metro-Herald’s “merchandisers.”

It was announced on Monday that after nine years, the newspaper would cease publication almost immediately, with today seeing the last ever issue.

TheJournal.ie took to the streets of the capital to chat to the friendly folks in the yellow jackets, and get the reaction of Dubliners.

‘I really am going to miss them’

IMG_0090 Tiago Ferreira and Susan Geoghegan Source: Dan Mac Guill/TheJournal.ie

Susan Geoghegan appreciates the Metro street staff so much, she gave Tiago Ferreira a big hug, a box of chocolates, a Christmas card and some scratch cards this morning at the bottom of Grafton Street.

I see them every morning on the way into work, and it’s the same people all the time.
I’m thinking ‘God I wish I didn’t have go into work today’, feeling miserable, and then you see this big smile, and someone says hello and wishes you a good day.
It really does mean a lot.
For some people, who are lonely, they might be the only people who’ll say hello to them all day.
I really am going to miss them…and I’ll miss my horoscopes as well.

IMG_0093 Tiago Ferreira greets a Dubliner on Grafton Street this morning. Source: Dan Mac Guill/TheJournal.ie

Tiago, who is 30 years old and from Brazil – like almost all the Metro Herald street staff – has been working with the company for around six weeks, and in Ireland for a year.

He says staff were told about the closure and job losses in a meeting on Monday, and that he’ll start looking for a part time job after Christmas.

A few minutes later, an elderly woman stops, takes a paper, and hands him a crumpled €5 note and a warm handshake.

‘They just said it on the radio…it’s terrible’ 

fernanda Fernanda Santos, at the bottom of O'Connell Street Source: Dan Mac Guill/TheJournal.ie

Fernanda Santos is standing on the corner of Bachelors Walk and O’Connell bridge at 7.30 am – keeping herself warm and flashing an infectious smile at everyone she sees.

She hands out paper after paper, adding “Good morning! Thank you!” with each one.

When passersby see the cover, and realise it’s the last ever, some stop, turn around, shake her hand, and say ”Good luck,” “Thanks for everything you’ve done.”

One woman walking down Bachelors Walk makes a beeline for Fernanda.

They just said it on the radio – it’s your last day! It’s terrible, you’ll be missed.

Fernanda, who is also from Brazil, says: “Everyone’s been SO nice this morning.”

She’s been a Metro Herald merchandiser for seven months, but like most, she has a second part-time job.

She says she’s handed out the paper all over the city, but Heuston Station is her favourite spot in Dublin.

She steps on to O’Connell Street, where another Metro reader gives her a long, sincere handshake, and walks on.

IMG_0080 A Metro reader wishes Fernanda Santos well on O'Connell Street this morning Source: Dan Mac Guill/TheJournal.ie

‘Everybody says good luck…I need luck’

Rosildo Oliveira – who goes by ‘Ross’ – is handing out the Metro Herald outside the United Colors of Benetton next to the St Stephen’s Green Luas stop.

He smiles at commuters on their way to work, and wishes them all a “Good morning.”

When a passing Irishman mutters “Bon dia” (Good morning, in Portugese), Ross laughs and shakes his head in bemusement.

It’s nice to see people really appreciate us, and our jobs.

IMG_0106 Rosildo Oliveira, at St Stephen's Green Source: Dan Mac Guill/TheJournal.ie

A concerned woman stops and asks: “What are you going to do now?”

“I’d like to know,” says Ross. She grimaces and says “Well, best of luck – I’ll miss all your happy faces,” before moving on.

Ross is 31 years old, and came to Ireland from Brazil a year ago.

He’s been working part time for Metro Herald for five months, but lost his second part time job, as a kitchen porter in a city centre pub, last week.

He says he’s already started to look for work, after losing both jobs in the space of a week. Another Dubliner stops to take a paper and wish him luck.

“Everyone says ‘good luck’…I need luck.”

metroluas Gabriela wishes Luas passengers a Happy Christmas as they swarm for a copy of the Metro Herald.

In total, it’s understood that around 60 part-time staff will lose their jobs handing out the paper in Dublin city centre, and at train and bus stations across the commuter belt.

That’s along with the 13 full time staff who write and produce the Metro-Herald.

The vast majority of the street staff are Brazilian.

metrobus André Godoi hands out papers to commuters arriving on Westmoreland St this morning.

Marcio Ventura, one of two team leaders for the merchandisers, puts this down to his country’s reputation.

“It’s not than any other country is excluded,” he says. “But Brazilians are very famous for their friendliness and their smile, and for being happy and full of energy.”

On a cold morning, six days before Christmas, and thousands of miles from home – they somehow managed to keep themselves, and the people of Dublin, warm.

metrofrontback

Originally published 11.46am

Read: People are really going to miss the staff who hand out the Metro Herald>

Say it ain’t so? Metro Herald will be published for the last time on Friday>

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About the author:

Dan MacGuill

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