Gardai broke up a protest outside a Debenhams store in the city centre last night.
Socialist Party public representatives have this morning heavily criticised the Garda for ‘forcefully removing’ workers and their supporters from the loading bay of the store at Henry St.
Workers and supporters were present in large numbers following a tip-off that trucks were to arrive to remove disputed stock.
More than 50 Gardai were mobilised in an operation which saw peaceful workers and supporters physically lifted from sitting positions and removed from the scene.
Solidarity TD Mick Barry said:
“There were more Gardai mobilised here to break a strike than have been mobilised for such a purpose in many years.
“The Gardai should be used to fight crime and keep the streets safe and not used as partisan actors in industrial disputes. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions should break their silence on these events and speak strongly on these issues today.”
Former Socialist Party TD Ruth Coppinger said:
“Last nights events in Dublin City centre tell an important tale about life in Micheal Martin and Leo Varadkar’s Ireland.
“With strikebreakers allowed to remove nonessential stock in a Level 5 lockdown and peaceful workers physically removed by Gardai there is clearly one law for those who act in the interests of the rich and one law for the rest of us.”
Michael O’Brien, Socialist Party member snd trade union activist, said:
“I was reporting from the scene with my camera phone to more than 1,000 viewers on the Stand With Debenhams facebook page but was unceremoniously removed from the loading bay before the Gardai started lifting workers.
“The Gardai clearly didn’t want any citizen journalism last night.”
At least three supporters of the workers were earlier physically removed from the scene and taken to a nearby Garda station.
The Debenhams dispute is 54 weeks old. Workers are demanding a decent redundancy settlement and are refusing to allow stock be removed from the stores until their demands are met.
Workers are set to shortly ballot on proposals to resolve the dispute.
Mick Barry TD is bringing a Bill before the Dáil in May (nicknamed the “Debenhsms Bil”) aimed at improving workers rights in liquidation situations.