Former Clerys staff oppose new development

The developers say they plan to regenerate the original Clerys building

Former Clerys staff oppose new development

Image: Photocall Ireland

More than 35 former Clerys Department Store employees have lodged similar objections with Dublin City Council, to the plans by the properties new owners, OCS Properties to develop a six-storey retail, commercial and hotel development on the site.

The objectors are from among the staff who lost their jobs in controversial circumstances 15 months ago when the operating company who ran the store closed it without warning and the separate company that owned the property was acquired by OCS, controlled by the Irish developer, Deirdre Foley.

Its closure resulted in job losses for 130 staff who were directly employed by Clerys - a further 330 people were employed by concessions which operated in the department store.

The proposed development on the site will house 350,000 sq ft and include a 176-bedroom hotel and a roof-top terrace.

OCS Properties' economic consultants project that the project in central Dublin would contribute €1.7bn to the exchequer during the next 20 years.

Its architect Henry J Lyons, said that the project "seeks to generate a vibrant quarter within the centre of the city which will see the repair, restoration, and regeneration of the original Clerys building."

Unease

A row has broken out between some elected members of Dublin City Council and the council’s planning department over the latter’s perceived facilitation of an aspect of the redevelopment of Clerys department store.

Late in July the council’s planning department gave its consent to OCS Properties – the controversial owner of Clerys – to include the public road and footpath at Earl Place and Sackville Place in their planning application to develop new high-end retail and office space and a hotel in the building.

Planning files published by the council show that part of the new development project includes ventures called “Boutique Food and Boutique Inspiration” on Earl Place and Sackville Place.

The move has been criticised as an act of "bad faith" by Dermot Lacey, the Labour Party leader on the city council.

He has argued that councillors should have been informed, particularly as so many of them had expressed outrage at the treatment of Clerys workers when the store was closed without warning last summer and the State was forced to support employees with statutory redundancy payments

The council has responded that the planning letter was standard and that it did not intend to sell the space involved to OCS.

It said:

"The intention of the planning application is to facilitate an upgrade in the quality of the public realm in question."

Last week it was revealed that building restoration specialists Lambstongue is refusing to work on the redevelopment of Clerys if it will not meet with 130 workers whose jobs were lost when the department store closed.

 

Additional reporting by Craig Fitzpatrick