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Cork City Council set to meet with Douglas traders

Wednesday, 4th September, 2019 4:59pm

Meetings between Cork City Council and the tenants of Douglas Village Shopping Centre are set to begin today. It comes as tenants face an uncertain future after confirmation this week the multi-storey car park will have to be demolished following Saturday’s fire there.

Confirming today’s meeting, a representative from Cork City Council said: “Cork City Council is currently scheduling meetings with businesses in Douglas to explore all options after the fire at the weekend.”

The council has been urged to facilitate possible pop-up locations for affected tenants to trade with no timeline available as to when the shopping centre can reopen. The meetings are set to begin at 10am at Rochestown Park Hotel.

One of the flagship stores in the centre, Tesco, confirmed yesterday that it is working with its affected employees to relocate them to other Tesco stores in Cork.

The statement said: “Tesco Ireland can confirm that we have spoken individually with our 103 store-based colleagues in Douglas to discuss opportunities for them to temporarily re-locate to one of our other stores in the area and how best to support them to do that. For customers, we have also increased capacity on our home delivery services and Click & Collect options at our Mahon Point and Wilton Shopping Centre stores to facilitate customers as best we can and to keep disruption to a minimum.

“Finally, we acknowledge the swift action of our colleagues in helping escort customers to safety and express our thanks to the relevant services for their rapid action, including centre management, Cork Fire Brigade and An Garda Síochána.

“As anchor tenant in the Village Shopping Centre, we are committed to our presence there and we will continue to work closely with the management of the centre as we all work together to get back on our feet.”

At a construction event on Wednesday, Chief Executive of Cork City Council Ann Doherty encouraged the public to support Douglas at this time, saying: “Lots of businesses are still trading and everyone should make an effort to give Douglas a little bit of a lift that it needs.”

Meanwhile efforts to remove cars from the car park, where 60 were destroyed in the blaze while a further 130 are trapped, are continuing throughout this week.

The removal process, using a crane, began on Tuesday and is expected to take seven days to complete. Following the removal of the vehicles, crews will begin work on the damaged areas of the structure which was severely damaged by the fire, the temperature of which was estimated to have been between 600 and 1000 degrees Celsius.

Demolition is expected to begin next week and is estimated to take weeks, if not months. Furthermore, the ESB has cut power to the centre to facilitate safety measures.

Falvey’s Pharmacy is the latest business to receive notice that it will be required to close while demolition work takes place.

It had been hoped that the pharmacy could trade, due to its location on the outside of the centre, however the business confirmed on social media on Tuesday: “Unfortunately we have been instructed to close temporarily due to health and safety concerns surrounding the demolition of the car park. Thank you to all our customers for your loyalty and patience.”

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has also advised those who have been made unemployed as a result of the fire to contact their local Intreo Centre to apply for social welfare support.

The Department has set up a phone number and email address where those affected can get information and advice on social welfare entitlements at 021-4943144 from 10am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday (including lunchtime), or email corkabbeycourt@welfare.ie.John Barry

news@corkindependent.com

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