COSTCUTTER owner Damien Donegan has performed a dramatic U-turn and reversed the decision to close his store on Clanbrassil Street.
The Kildare man had threatened to close the store, which opened just before Christmas, unless Dundalk Town Council reversed their decision to close the road leading from the Demesne to Clanbrassil Street by Sunday.
However, an approach by staff members who offered to take a wage cut of 30pc – the amount he claims his business has dipped since work began on the revamp of Market Square - “caught me in the throat” and prompted him to reverse his decision.
Damien says he now plans to invest an additional e150,000 and has organised an official opening for the store for Friday April 29, which will be performed by Tyrone manager Mickey Harte and Irish rugby star Ronan O’Gara.
“We’re not going to close,” Damien confirmed to The Dundalk Democrat on Friday.
“The thing that really changed my mind was the gesture of the staff to take a pay cut by whatever amount the business had suffered. I was immersed by emotion at that gesture. I wouldn’t hear tell of them taking the cut but I will be staying open as they really are a great bunch and I’d like to thank them for being so supportive.
“The business people on the street and the customers have also given me massive support. The kids from the schools have even been in asking if there’s anything they can do to help out. The public support has been just unreal and that all helped me change my mind. “I’m not going to roll over for the council,” he said.
Damien now intends investing in the store, with the hope being to install an off licence in the coming weeks and months. He also insists that he is set to press ahead with plans to open an Xtravision store across the street in the former Cumiskey’s Music Shop premises.
“I want to help get the street back to the glory days,” he said.
Damien insisted he was “absolutely totally in favour” of the Square being revamped but he hit out at the council for their lack of thought for the businesses on Clanbrassil Street.
“I do feel that the businesses at this end of the town are being neglected and I’d call on the council to spend even a fraction of what they’re spending on the Square to upgrade the footpaths on Clanbrassil Street which are sinking, open the drains which are totally blocked, get more open signs up and get the for sale signs down.
“This street was closed with no notice to the businesses on the street and the temporary measure they have put in is unsafe and dangerous. Now that I’m staying open I’m calling on the council to turn their decision to close the road around to help a depressed street.
“I’d ask the County Manager Conn Murray to step in now to sort the matter,” he said.
Damien said he was now engaging loss adjustor Shane McGuinness to recoup his losses for the period the road was closed from the council.