herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Clerys 'family' say goodbye as workers remember good times under the clock

L to R: back, Maureen Deans and Veronica Newport. Front; Mary Webb and Rose Dennis.
L to R: back, Maureen Deans and Veronica Newport. Front; Mary Webb and Rose Dennis.
L to R: Vicky Byrne and Keith Doran.
Dolores Power.
L to R: Olga Lavrentieva, Laura Bergin and Lanna Gomes.
Xiong Qinhui.
Simona Bostan and Maggie Wang.

LEAVING Clerys was "like breaking up a family" for staff as hundreds gathered together in the city centre for a farewell bash with friends for life.

The department store closed its doors abruptly on June 12, after 160 years as the flagship shop on Dublin's O'Connell Street - and staff admit they're still in shock just under two months later, with most still unemployed since.

Maureen Deans (55) worked in the store's curtain section for more than 15 years and said the party at Wynn's Hotel on Abbey Street would be the last time most of the former employees will see each other.

Study

"I've made a lot of friends here over the years and it's strange that we won't be seeing each other day in, day out," she said.

"Some of us still keep in touch though, through phone calls and texting and the like."

Maureen is currently unemployed, but is planning on going to college to study computing in an attempt to get back into employment.

Vicky Byrne (23), from Bray, had been working in the store for almost three years, and told the Herald that the family atmosphere within Clerys will be hard to replace.

"There really was a family atmosphere there," she said. "Everybody that worked there seemed to have a relative there too."

CLERYS4.jpg
L to R: Olga Lavrentieva, Laura Bergin and Lanna Gomes.

Jacinta Carroll, Angela Noonan, Joan Guilfoyle and Ann Williams all worked for concession holder, Jacques Vert. Jacinta was there when they broke the news.

"It was very sad. We were all there with each other for seven to 11 years," she said. "On the day, the other girls had finished at 4pm and we were all told to close the tills at 5pm, that we had to go for a meeting.

"We knew that there were new owners, so we thought they were going to be introduced.

"It was a massive shock to us when we were told the store was closing," she added.

Most of the former employees are still on the job hunt since its closure. Some have found work, but it will never be the same as their time in Clerys.

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