Mammon and multiples open doors

 

A LARGE number of Dublin's major stores will be open tomorrow, some, like Brown Thomas, for the first time on Good Friday. For most of Grafton Street it will be business as usual.

The same goes for the major shopping centres, both those in the city, like the Jervis centre, Ilac and St Stephen's Green, and the suburban centres at Tallaght, Blanchardstown, Santry and Blackrock.

The major cinemas will be open, some again for the first time. Only the banks, theatres and, of course, pubs will be closed.

The main "conscientious objectors" will be the traditional city centre stores such as Clerys and Arnotts, and a group of Irish owned shops, led by the redoubtable Louis Copeland.

The comment of the former Presbyterian moderator, Dr John Dunlop, that the motto of the Western world should now be tesco ergo sum has never been truer of Dublin.

The chief executive of the Dublin City Centre Business Association, Mr Tom Coffey, admitted yesterday that many Irish shops felt under pressure to stay open on Good Friday in order to compete with the international multiples.

The public relations manager of Brown Thomas, Ms Dolores Delany, said the pressure came from a combination of people leading busy lives and expecting shops tub be open when they were not working and the competition brought in by British retailers. Father Tom Stack, the parish priest of Milltown in south Dublin, noted that Dunnes Stores had been persuaded not to open on Easter Sunday.

He said Good Friday opening "could be put down to commercial greed on the part of proprietors. It is saying simply that unlimited consumerism is more important than the central event of The Christian faith and tradition."

The Rev Desmond Gilliland, a south Dublin Methodist minister, who has campaigned against Sunday trading, said Dublin on religious holidays had become like a monopoly board. The only rule is who can make the most money.