On the day when unemployment moves below 400,000 for first time since 2009, it is disappointing and frustrating to read that the local supermarket and the anchor tenant of the Ballymun Shopping Centre, Tesco Ballymun, will be closing at the end of April.
My first concern is, naturally, for the workers, and I have spoken to both IBEC and Tesco Ireland in relation to this, who assure me that there will be no mandatory redundancies and that workers will be transferred to other outlets if they wish. I spoke to Tesco Ireland this morning and they assure me that the 50 staff will be redeployed in depots and other local Tesco outlets. The staff will be sitting down in coming days for one-to-one meetings with management.
My other concern is for residents, many of whom have done their weekly shop there for decades. My own family have been shopping there for as long as I can remember and, in truth, this will be a hammerblow to them as, like many local residents, they don’t own a car and rely on local services such as this.
My final concern is for the impact that this will have on the local area, leaving a large hole to fill in Ballymun Shopping Centre as it stands, with no foreseeable tenant due to plug that gap and the supermarket sector in general now on the decline, with consolidations, buyouts and closures now becoming more prevalent in Dublin.
I will continue to work closely with stakeholders to do what I can to ensure as positive an outcome as possible. On a day where unemployment has fallen for the 20th month in a row to 11.9%, this is a disappointing setback for an area that needs local employment and needs local services.