DUBLINERS lamenting the closure of the landmark Bewley’s on Grafton Street have called on the Government to save the iconic café and theatre.
Thousands have signed an online petition to Dublin City Council, Lord Mayor of Dublin Tom Brabazon and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
Sara Weis, who started the campaign, said: “Bewley’s is more than just bricks and mortar; it is a place filled with memories and history.”
The historic café first opened its doors in 1927 but its operators, Bewley’s Ltd, announced its permanent closure last week with the loss of all 110 jobs.
Business group DublinTown said: “Bewley’s is core to Dublin’s fabric, it is one of those vital social spaces that makes Dublin unique.”
Since it first opened almost a century ago the Dublin landmark has closed and reopened twice for refurbishments and restorations.
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Its owners blamed the pandemic and crippling rents for the closure. Other Bewley’s outlets have stayed out of the red, but Grafton St has an annual rent of e1.5m.
A second petition on MyUplift.ie is calling for the State to step in and purchase the building by setting up a body similar to the UK’s National Trust.
DublinTown has warned that the loss of Bewley’s could set a dangerous precedent and the fabric of the city could change beyond recognition as a result.
It said: “Bewley’s is core to Dublin’s fabric, it is the one of those vital social spaces that makes Dublin unique and why our city so often has the intimate feeling of a vibrant lively town.
“The community of DublinTown businesses needs Bewley’s. There is a resolution to be found.”
Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Bay South Chris Andrews described the closure as “a devastating loss at a very difficult time”.
He added: “Unfortunately, I have had similar representations from traders in Dublin city who are struggling to afford sky-high rents at a time when they have no income coming through the doors.
“I would urge the government to begin tackling this issue without delay before other firms go to the wall.”
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