Charity must shut two shops in sales crisis
Age Action Ireland has announced that it is to close two of its five stores.
The charity, which campaigns and provides services for the elderly, said it had no option but to close the shops which were no longer breaking even.
The two west of Ireland outlets will close their doors next month but Age Action said its two shops in Dublin were safe -- for now.
"We regret we have had to take the decision this week to close our Castlebar and Galway shops," said Age Action Ireland spokesman Eamonn Timmons.
"The reason is the shops are there to raise funds for our organisation's work with older people and these ones weren't turning a profit, they weren't breaking even. So we have to find other ways to use our resources to fund our work.
"It was a very difficult decision for the organisation to make as we only have five of the shops and they are staffed with extremely loyal workers.
"It's heartbreaking to have to let those people go. But the only other option would have been to cut our services for older people and we would be very slow to do that."
The Galway store had been open for 10 years and the Castlebar branch for five. Between them, two full-time and two part-time staff were employed.
As well as a vital source of income for Age Action, the shops also provide services such as low-cost goods, information, recycling, and a base for social contact through coffee mornings and volunteer days.
After the two stores close on April 16, there will be three left -- in Camden Street, Dun Laoghaire and Monaghan.
"People have to understand that it's a very tough environment out there at the moment for charities, we are struggling," Mr Timmons said. "It's a very very difficult time for anybody trying to fundraise. The money people spend on charity comes from their disposable income and with the economy the way it is, people just don't have as much money in their pockets.
"We have gone through a performance review of all our shops and, thankfully, the other three are doing okay. They will remain open. But we are looking at other ways to raise money."
Meanwhile, children's charity Barnardos said while there were no plans to shut any of its seven shops, trade had been hit. In particular, it was hard to get stock because the public was holding onto items for longer before donating them.