Austerity leaves bitter taste as Leinster House sweet shop shuts
The €1.3m shop at Kildare Street gate closes five years after Bertie Ahern opened
Leinster House. Photograph: Alan Betson/ The Irish Times
It was the Taj Mahjal of the mint humbug, the Southfork of the chocolate snowball, the Buckingham Palace of the fruit pastille.
The notorious Leinster House sweetie shop – that glass walled monument to the Celtic Tiger notions of a discredited political administration – closes its doors tomorrow.
Opened with a fanfare five years ago by Bertie Ahern and former Ceann Comhairle John O’Donoghue, the 40-square metre shop, discreetly tucked inside the Kildare Street gate, took three years to build and cost an eye-watering €1.3 million. Opposition deputies were shocked at the time when they heard how much it cost to build the “glorified lean-to”.
It purveyed packets of crisps, Mars bars, newspapers, and knick-knacks to politicians, staff, and visitors, but footfall was slow. One its problems was that it could only cater to people with access to the strictly secured Oireachtas complex.
Rehab Enterprises operate the business and have decided to bring down the shutters.
In a statement last night the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission said it was “proud of its association with Rehab Enterprises and in particular, its running of An Siopa and very much regrets their decision to cease operating.” They hope to reopen at the “very earliest opportunity”.
The sweetie shop stocked an unusual line of keepsakes, from umbrellas to playing cards to cufflinks. It also offered a dry cleaning service and yesterday politicians rushed to collect their clothes before the deadline.