Jobs lost in Limerick with JJB, NIB closures

UP to 30 jobs have been lost in the city with the closure of JJB - and the impending closure of National Irish Bank.

UP to 30 jobs have been lost in the city with the closure of JJB - and the impending closure of National Irish Bank.

Hundreds of people in the city could be left out of pocket after JJB moved to close its sports store and gym in the Childers Road.

The shutters came down for the last time at 10pm on Wednesday night, with 20 people losing their jobs in the sports megastore and gym.

This came after the liquidator appointed to the troubled firm could not find a buyer.

A representative from KPMG was at the store on Wednesday to inform staff about the move .

Fully paid up gym members will have to fill out paperwork to see if they can reclaim any outstanding monies from the company. They are creditors of the company, and could face a struggle to reclaim any membership fee.

The demise of JJB Sports has been on the cards since the summer when it failed to secure capital to stay afloat. The British arm of the firm plunged into administration, and rival chain Sports Direct bought some outlets. But there has been no interest in the four Irish outlets which has led to the closure in Limerick.

In a further blow to the city, National Irish Bank is to close its flagship branch in Patrick Street on Wednesday, November 14.

This change has been flagged up for a while: in June, National Irish Bank said it would close its branch network, and change the name to that of its parent firm Danske Bank.

A spokesman for the bank - which has just reported an €8m third-quarter loss - said 100 jobs will be lost on a voluntary basis.

But he could not confirm how many staff in Limerick would be affected. Sources have suggested around ten people work in Patrick Street.

National Irish Bank also closed its branch at the Greenpark Shopping Centre, Ballinacurra in April 2009.

The closure of JJB is a second blow to the Childers Road retail park in as many months.

Atlantic Homecare shut up shop after falling into its own financial difficulties.

Chairman of the economic committee, Cllr Diarmuid Scully said the closures were upsetting, but not unexpected.

“It is a sad loss in terms. It is not unexpected - it was known the company was in trouble for some time. The hope was the gym would keep going. The issue of people with gym membership would have been more of an issue at start of year when people had paid, rather than now,” he said, “But it is a blow, there are no two ways about it. We keep hearing parking is the big problem in the city, but this place offers ample free parking, and it could not sustain and the broader economic situation was against it. Most of the problems facing JJB have occurred in the UK. It is a problem affecting the entire company and its operation.”

On the closure of the National Irish Bank, Cllr Scully believes this is just another in a long line of job cuts in the banking 

“The hope is we can bring new jobs in and we can try and develop Limerick’s economy. For every Northern Trust developing new jobs, there is still a knock-on effect from the financial crisis. We can expect retail banking to shed quite a lot of jobs,” he concluded.

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