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Monday 5 December 2016

Clerys concession holders get stock as Tanaiste vows to speed up welfare

Stock being removed from the back of Clerys following the sudden closure of the department store on Earl Place, Dublin.
Stock being removed from the back of Clerys following the sudden closure of the department store on Earl Place, Dublin.
Clery's Concession Retailer Helen Lynch, director of Irish Design, pictured after removing her stock from Clery's goods entrance
Sharen McCabe (owner of McCabe's Pharmacies) pictured with petty cash box after removing her stock from Clery's goods entrance

WELFARE offices in Dublin have been instructed to ensure the speedy processing of claims made by former Clerys workers.

Tanaiste Joan Burton told the Dail she issued the instruction after personally meeting some of the ex-employees.

The Labour Party leader urged the business owners to display a sense of "fair play" towards workers and concessionaires.

"This is an incredibly difficult time for the staff of Clerys who gave so much to the company and who have been treated appallingly," Ms Burton said.

READ MORE: Closure is devastating, says Panti as Norris lauds 'institution'

"I hope the business owners involved in these transactions have some sense of business ethics, propriety and fair play, particularly for the workers, the employees of the concessionaires, the concessionaires themselves and the creditors of the company."

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Sharen McCabe (owner of McCabe's Pharmacies) pictured with petty cash box after removing her stock from Clery's goods entrance

Ms Burton said it is important that workers seeking jobseekers benefit have their claims processed quickly.

"The Department is informing its network of local offices in the greater Dublin area of these developments to ensure that claims from affected workers are processed in a speedy and sensitive manner," she added.

READ MORE: Clerys workers 'thrown to the wolves' as families and friends show support

Meanwhile, a Clerys concession holder has told of her relief after she was finally given permission to retrieve her stock from the iconic store.

Helen Lynch, owner of Best of Irish Design, was one of a small number of business owners brought back into the O'Connell Street building yesterday by liquidators KPMG.

But Ms Lynch is now preparing to tell a number of her staff members that they are being let go as result of the shock liquidation of Clerys.

"I'm trying to keep my business hat on because if I don't, I'll just become very emotional and upset," she told the Herald.

But the concession holders have expressed major anger over the outstanding €2m owed to them in cash.

Ms Lynch says there is a "substantial sum" of money currently owed to her that was held by Clerys in the form of a trust.

"Someone is accountable for our money, we just don't know where it is or how we can retrieve it," the businesswoman added.

Ms Lynch is one of four concession holders who have formed a special committee which is being advised by solicitor Michael Lavelle.

Members of the committee yesterday met Business and Employment Minister Ged Nash as the Clerys situation was discussed in the Dail yet again.

There is also pressure on Gordon brothers, who sold Clerys, and Natrium - the firm due to take it over - to provide answers to workers.

Earlier, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams called for changes in company law so as to protect workers from "rogue employers".

Mr Adams urged Taoiseach Enda Kenny to support a bill being tabled by Sinn Fein TD Peadar Toibin which proposes an amendment to the current legislation.

review

But Mr Kenny said the matter is being examined by a review group.

"I do commit that the Company Law Review Group, which is headed by a very eminent person, should examine this particular issue to see whether it is appropriate that some changes be made to the law, as enacted, in order to prevent this kind of situation arising again," the Taoiseach said.

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