Seen & Heard: Clerys closure was unavoidable, says Foley

Revenue Commissioners withhold tax certificates from 15,000 over unpaid LPT

The closure of Clerys was an inevitability, according to Deirdre Foley. Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill

The closure of Clerys was an inevitability, according to Deirdre Foley. Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill

 

Stand-alone department stores – such as Clerys – do not work in today’s environment, Deirdre Foley, one of the people widely blamed for the closing the landmark business with the loss of 467 jobs, has told the Sunday Business Post.

Clerys owner OCS Properties has just asked Dublin City Council for permission to redevelop the store as a hotel, offices, shops, bars and restaurants.

Foley is the woman behind D2 Investments, one of the backers of Natrium, which bought Clerys in June last year and closed it overnight, making 467 workers redundant.

She told the newspaper the closure was an inevitability “given that Bank of Ireland placed it into receivership in 2012 and brought in someone [Gordon Brothers] who are known to work with distressed businesses, and that stand-alone department stores typically do not work, particularly in today’s retail and online retailing business”.

She said the redevelopment of Clerys would ultimately create 1,400 jobs.

In a similar vein, the Sunday Times reported that the proposed overhaul would cost about €150 million, with the high-spec nature of the plans and the difficulty of working in an enclosed space in Dublin’s city centre adding to the final redevelopment bill.

Tax certificates withheld from 15,000 over LPT

The Revenue Commissioners withheld tax-clearance certificates from 15,000 people in the first six months of the year for their failure to pay local property tax, the Sunday Business Post also reported.

The certs are a formal confirmation that someone’s taxes are in order. Refusing them is one of the sanctions available to Revenue for failure to pay the local property charge.

According to the newspaper, official figures show the number of tax clearance certificates the Revenue refused doubled in the first half of this year to 15,353 from 7,652 in 2015, indicating a clampdown those not paying their property tax.

The report also pointed out that more than 97 per cent of those who were refused the certs subsequently paid up and had their certificates issued.

Disposable incomes rise €1.5bn

Rising employment and increased salaries added €1.5 billion to Irish disposable incomes last year, the Sunday Times reported. The story quotes an analysis by Savills indicating that people spend most of the extra money.

An analysis of the Central Statistics Office’s institutional accounts, released on Thursday, shows household disposable income was up 6.2 per cent in the first quarter of last year, the newspaper said.

While €210 million of the increase in income went in savings, the vast majority of extra cash, about €1.27 billion found its way into high spending, the paper said.