Almost every business in Cork shuts to protect public

Almost every business in Cork shuts to protect public
Patrick's Street this morning during Storm Ophelia.

The vast majority of businesses in Cork remain closed today as Storm Ophelia gets underway in the City.

Among the long list of companies closed during the storm were Cork employers Pfizer and Voxpro.

Brown Thomas, Debenhams, Penneys and Dunnes Stores on Patrick’s Street also closed their doors while Storm Ophelia battered the City.

Most employers have heeded health and safety advice and prioritise the well-being of their staff members, according to Cork Business Association (CBA) CEO Lawrence Owens.

“The message really has been safety first and protect your staff and the vast amount of business have been very prudent,” he told the Echo.

“The CBA has been very active in terms of engaging with premises at risk of flooding,” he added.

Most businesses are expected to reopen tomorrow, he added.

“We will have to assess it but we’d expect to be back to normal as soon as possible.” 

“I’m sure there was some but I think the number has been minimised.” The English Market was open this morning, although few stalls were open.

The closed sign at Dunnes Stores during Storm Ophelia.
The closed sign at Dunnes Stores during Storm Ophelia.

Employee safety is more important than profits, CBA president and fishmonger in the English Market Pat O’Connell told the Echo.

“We closed today, the health and safety of my staff is more important. There would be very little happening anyway. We’ll be open again on Tuesday, or as soon as the wind dies down and the roads are safe.” 

“Better to be sure than sorry. I’m just relieved a couple of trawlers came in Sunday night. We’d hope a few more will get back out Tuesday or Wednesday.” Many of the City’s pubs and restaurants have also closed.

“We are closed today until 5 pm out of concern for our staff,” publican Benny McCabe told the Echo.

“But then again, I think nowhere should be open until 5 pm on a Monday anyway!” “Plenty of people around last night, reminiscent of the night before Good Friday in years gone by.” 

“I’ve walked home through worse after a few beers.” Mr McCabe said he was worried the storm may be overblown but added that the weather will worsen as the day goes on.

There has been some criticism for businesses that have remained open today, including Starbucks on Patrick’s Street which was open this morning.

Mandate Trade Union has called on all employers to close due to the life-threatening storm to protect the health and safety of their staff.

Green Party candidate for Cork South Central Lorna Bogue slammed business that chose to remain open today.

“I think it's massively irresponsible to be open today and to assume people will be travelling to get coffee during Red Alert weather. It’s totally egregious to expect workers to come in.” 

Workers are left without public transport she added.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful that Starbucks opened, and other large businesses too.”

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