The crowd had gathered early and the line stretched all the way to the parking lot. The Taoiseach should be expected at any moment in The Square, the iconic shopping center in the sprawling south Dublin suburb of Tallaght. But those who waited patiently in a well-groomed line weren’t here for Micheál Martin.
other times, they waited to get their hands on the bargains and “little little things” Penneys has to offer as the retail giant prepared to open its 37th store in Ireland. The arrival of the low-cost fashion outlet in Tallaght has reportedly taken decades and, judging by the turnout, it was highly anticipated. Penneys will employ 300 people in a 43,500 square foot store on the ground floor of The Square.
Exactly 32 years to the day, Martin’s predecessor, Charlie Haughey, was at the same location and opened The Square, whose pyramidal dome occupies a central place in Tallaght’s skyline. Although much has changed in this part of Dublin since then, there is one constant: Charlie O’Connor.
Just as he had flanked Haughey when the late Taoiseach greeted the crowds in October 1990, the longtime South Dublin Councilor and former Fianna Fáil TD was here to greet Martin when he arrived this morning. Three decades ago, a reported 45,000 people attended the opening of what was then Ireland’s largest shopping centre.
Mr. Martin’s arrival didn’t cause quite as much excitement, but there were dancers, loud music, and staff waving little Penneys flags. Lucky the dancers and Whitney Houston I want to dance with someone was completed by the time Mr. Martin arrived slightly later than planned, which would avoid any attempts to get the Taoiseach to perform his dance moves.
A series of speeches followed, in which the store manager stated that Tallaght had been waiting for this day for a long time. It was, Mr. Martin said when it was his turn, a very important day for the community and staff. Penneys has become a “retail institution for generations of Irish families,” he said, acknowledging its commitment to more sustainable methods of clothing production by the end of the decade. Penneys has been criticized for years for promoting high-carbon fast fashion, but has recently signaled a move away from those practices, raising consumer fears of soaring prices.
But the Taoiseach was quick to thank Penneys for keeping prices at last year’s levels at a time of rising costs and energy bills, and said families would appreciate it. “Thanks, Penneys,” he didn’t say.
After the obligatory ribbon cutting and handshakes with the staff, there was a brief tour of the store as the Taoiseach’s aides nervously and quickly escorted him past the lingerie department, only for Mr Martin enthusiastically to walk right back through when he was ready to meet with was brought to the store management.
The puns and father ted References write themselves so we’ll spare you, apart from the fact that there was no instant confirmation that this is in fact Ireland’s largest lingerie department.
video of the day
Mr. Martin appeared in front of the microphones and cameras a short time later to answer questions. On a day he’d followed in Mr Haughey’s footsteps, it was another of his controversial predecessors that kept journalists busy.
Would Mr Martin give in to Fianna Fáil’s growing demands for Bertie Ahern to be reinstated in the party? For the first time, Mr Martin, who tried to exclude Mr Ahern before he resigned a decade ago, appeared to warm to the idea, saying it was “being considered”.
Not only that, it turns out Mr Ahern has been consulted frequently by the Taoiseach over the past 18 months following the eruption of the Northern Ireland Protocol dispute. The Taoiseach emphasized that he was not an advisor, but that there had been talks on the sidelines of events and games.
All of this turned out to be a hit This girl of Australian funk trio Cookin’ on 3 Burners and Kungs blared in the background, making it increasingly difficult to hear Mr Martin about Bertie, the cost of living, his Tánaiste’s thoughts on the Tax and Welfare Commission and his own concerns about the growing meanness of the far-right protest movements in Ireland.
Among other things, local Fianna Fáil TD John Lahart explained that he and Martin wanted to buy socks. It took the Taoiseach some time to exit the store as he stopped and posed for photos. But there was no evidence of Penney’s bags in tow when he left. The “few bits” have to wait another day.
https://www.independent.ie/style/fashion/move-over-micheal-its-not-you-theyre-queueing-for-crowds-gather-for-few-bits-as-taoiseach-opens-tallaght-penneys-41991901.html Penneys in Tallaght Square: Crowds gather in The Square for “a few quick bites” as Taoiseach opens a new store