50 staff laid off as Dunnes close

Dunnes at High Street Mall.
Dunnes at High Street Mall.

The 50 staff of Dunnes Store at Portadown’s High Street Mall have been handed their notice – “with the store closing within weeks, even days”.

Staff were called by management to the canteen of the grocery-clothing store at four o’clock on Tuesday and given letters of the required 30 days’ notice. But they feel the axe will fall well within that period.

They were told to keep the meeting confidential, but within minutes the town centre was buzzing with the news. A member of staff told the Portadown Times, “They simply told us the store isn’t viable. Another meeting has been set up for Friday, when we feel a firm date may be announced.

“It seems that all the jobs are going – they didn’t mention redeployment. We will know more on Friday when directors are believed to be coming up from Dublin. We’re shattered and so many of our faithful customers are really annoyed.

“Dunnes have been a good firm to work for. Some of the staff have been here since they opened at Magowan Buildings about 35 years ago. As a Dublin-based firm, they bravely survived the trouble that affected Portadown so much, but it seems they can’t survive the economic depression that has hit the town centre.”

It’s a hammer blow to the town in general and the Mall in particular. Dunnes have been the anchor tenant since the Mall was opened by the Irwin family 20 years ago – the complex was recently sold to Brittas Properties, with an asking price of £2.8m.