POLITICS: CORK PROTESTS: Pressure grows on Bank of Ireland to help Debenhams staff

26 May 2020
By Elaine Murphy

Protests will take place outside Bank of Ireland branches at 12 noon today at Dame Street, Dublin city centre and Blanchardstown; South Mall, Cork City; and in Galway, Waterford and Newbridge.

File photo

Solidarity and Socialist Party Rep Mick Barry TD will participate in protest actions organised by Debenhams Workers outside Bank of Ireland branches nationwide today (Tuesday) at noon. Deputy Barry said Bank of Ireland are part-owners of Debenhams and share responsibility for the decision to liquidate 2000 jobs there.

In a statement Deputy Barry said:

Mick Barry TD

“It would cost the State approximately €19m to intervene at Debenhams and save 2,000 jobs.

“If instead of having their corporation tax waived Bank of Ireland were to pay corporation tax at the Government’s bargain basement 12.5% rate that would have raised €95m last year.”

“In other words, if this bank paid corporation tax the State would have received a sum last year five times greater than that needed to save the jobs.”

“The State still has a 14% stake in this bank which means that the workers’ protest against this bank is also a protest against the Government. The Government should join with the workers in exerting pressure on the bank to ensure that the workers are not hung out to dry here. The bank has vast reserves and enormous profits which could be used to save jobs or ensure a decent redundancy package. Leo Varadkar cannot wash his hands of this situation – he has a responsibility here too.”

Meanwhile, in a statement Debenhams shop stewards Jane Crowe (in relation to Debehmans Henry Street, Dublin) and Valerie Conlon (in relation to Debehmans Patrick Street, Cork) said:

“This is the Bank that was bailed out by workers. We are calling on Bank of Ireland to bail us out now.

Many of us have worked for Debenhams for years, some for decades. Bank of Ireland played a part in liquidating this company. It has a choice – invest to save our jobs to get us through this pandemic or pay us the redundancy packages we deserve for our years of service.

We, the public, have a share in Bank of Ireland. The government should demand the bank pays our redundancy and not the ordinary taxpayer.”

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