Services begin to wind down


Banking, medical and public transport services will start to wind down today as the Christmas holiday period begins.

However, two shopping chains, Dunnes Stores and Tesco, have announced that some stores will remain open all night tonight, while many other outlets will be open later than normal.

Some 14 Tesco stores throughout the State will be open non-stop until late tomorrow to cater for last-minute shoppers. All stores will be closed, however, from Christmas Day until Monday, December 28th.

Only some Dunnes Stores outlets will reopen on Sunday.

Brown Thomas and Marks and Spencer will reopen on Sunday, when their sales begin. Roches Stores and Arnotts will reopen on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

Banks and post offices will close at lunchtime tomorrow and will not reopen until Wednesday, December 30th.

Dr Brian Coffey of the Irish College of General Practitioners said most GPs would be working up to and including Christmas Eve and would open their clinics again next Tuesday.

Locums will be available to cover all GPs in cases of emergencies. Accident and emergency wards of all hospitals in the State will remain open over the entire holiday period.

Extra buses will operate on all major routes to facilitate shoppers until tomorrow. Services in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford as well as some services to and from Dublin will terminate earlier than usual.

There will be no Bus Eireann service on Christmas Day, with a limited service resuming on December 26th.

Extra trains will operate on most routes today and tomorrow, according to Iarnrod Eireann, with no service on December 25th or 26th. Normal Sunday service will resume on December 27th, with certain alterations and cancellations.

The last city-bound DARTs will leave Bray tomorrow at 9 p.m. and Howth at 9.09 p.m., with the last outbound DARTs leaving Connolly Station for Bray and Howth at 9.05 p.m. and 9.20 p.m., respectively.

There will be no service on December 25th or 26th, with a normal Sunday service on December 27th, but no suburban trains. On Monday December 28th, DART and suburban trains will operate on a Saturday service in order to meet the demand for the Christmas sales.

The Retail Association said the majority of grocers would remain open tomorrow and will reopen the day after Christmas. A small number will open for a couple of hours on Christmas Day.

The majority of pubs will be open on St Stephen's Day, traditionally one of the busiest of the year in the industry.