Perhaps the worst news for the town since the beginning of the New Year has been the announcement of the imminent closure of the Superquinn supermarket at Carroll Village. Not alone will it mean the loss of jobs in this establishment but it could well signal the end of many of the other outlets at this particular shopping mall. And people will be wondering who will be the next employer in town to shut up shop.
It was somewhat ironic that this particular store will be closing while another supermarket company will be opening a brand new store at the Ramparts. It is even more so when one considers that Superquinn was the very first supermarket to open in the town of Dundalk, back in 1960 when it was claimed at the time that, Fergal Quinn who established his store in Clanbrassil Street opposite the G.P.O., was then opening only the second supermarket in the entire country.
A spokesman for the management partially blamed the closure of this store on the fact that so many people were crossing the Border to look for bargains in Newry.
Anyone who has been to Newry in recent times will surely have noticed that the vast majority of cars and vans going down there at the present time have Dublin registrations but there is no talk of closing their Dublin outlets.
One cannot help speculating that some big companies are taking the opportunity of the present difficult financial situation all over the world to impose wage and other restrictions on their employees. This may not be the case in relation to Superquinn but you cannot help being suspicious that Dundalk is being made an example of to hide other problems of management.
The truth of the matter is that this supermarket was never the same since it was sold by the Quinn family to a consortium back in 2005.
It was very noticeable to anybody who shopped regularly there since that time that staff was being reduced and there was not the same value for money.
One of the most unpopular things that the new management did was to introduce the self-checkouts which is detested, especially by older people. This was copied by another supermarket chain in town but the others have, wisely in my opinion, avoided this system.
Another irony about the situation is that the arrival of the big supermarkets in town spelled the end for many family run shops who could not compete with them.
So, apart from the loss of jobs, not many in town will not have any great sympathy for this particular company.