Future of landmark Swords pub is yet to be decided

by Sylvia Pownall

The owners of the Lord Mayors pub in Swords have blasted reports that they cannot pay their staff redundancy – as the iconic watering hole faces closure.

Owner Robert Savage last week wrote to all 27 staff to advise them that collective redundancy was on the cards, adding: “The company simply does not have the cash reserves to make such payments.”

But a source close to the owners told Dublin Gazette: “The next line of the letter states that we will look for a resolution to find a way of doing so [paying redundancy]. We are in a 30-day consultation process and nothing is finalised yet. It’s not a done deal. The Savage family has always looked after its staff.”

The source also confirmed that a “small number” of voluntary redundancies have been offered to staff at JCs supermarket, which employs around 130 people.

The source revealed: “We’re offering voluntary redundancy packages at JCs, but only to a very small number of people.

“There have been all sorts of wild rumours flying – that Dunnes Stores have bought JCs, that Dunnes have bought the Lord Mayors. None of it is true.

“The pub game is very difficult and has been difficult for a number of years. But this is an ongoing process and best efforts are being made to find a solution.

“No date has been set for closure. This issue came up last year and the owners managed to keep it open for another 12 months. But it is very, very difficult, there’s no doubt about that.”

A 30-day consultation period commenced last Thursday, the day after staff were given a letter advising that “the continuing loss-making position of the business requires a collective redundancy and closure at a future date yet to be decided”.

The iconic building, which dates back to 1668, is one of the few thatched-roof structures remaining in Swords and the Savage family bought it in the 1980s.

Fears are now mounting that the landmark property at the top of Main Street may eventually be demolished to make way for apartments or an apart-hotel.

Anthony Cooney, chief executive of Dublin Fingal Chamber, said it would be a blow to the town if the pub was to close, but that if it does it should be sold as a going concern.

He told Dublin Gazette: “The Chamber would like to see a continuation of a business there that’s going to provide employment. It’s right in the heart of the town and while we understand the pressure for accommodation, we would hope it stays trading.”

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