A Cork TD claims that both of the Debenhams stores in Cork were profitable prior to their closure.
Staff in the Patrick’s Street and Mahon Point stores were informed earlier this month that those stores, along with the nine others across the country would not be reopening following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since then staff have been campaigning for fair treatment, with socially distant protests taking place at a number of stores, including in Cork, last week to highlight the situation.
They have been calling for partial or full retention of the Irish business, and failing that a full and fair redundancy package for staff.
An online petition started by the Mandate Trade Union has garnered almost 20,000 signatures backing the staff.
The petition reads: “The decision by Debenhams management to put the company into voluntary liquidation is opportunistic and cynical.”
Solidarity TD Mick Barry, who attended last weeks protest on Patrick’s Street in Cork, has now claimed that both Debenhams stores in Cork made a profit last year.
He claims that at least four of the 11 Irish stores - two in Dublin, and two in Cork - are profitable.
The Cork North Central TD said that this news would be significant, given that the High Court is meeting on Thursday to consider whether to put the company into liquidation or to take an alternative approach.
“This week is a crucial week in the history of the Debenhams chain. It would be insane for the High Court to liquidate profitable stores and force hundreds of workers from those stores onto the dole,” Deputy Barry said.
“The pressure must be stepped up in the three days running up to the court case to save jobs and livelihoods at Debenhams,” he concluded.