Primark staff to be paid until end of year as firm commits to Belfast city centre

There is growing concern that the cordon could remain in place over Christmas
There is growing concern that the cordon could remain in place over Christmas

Primark staff from the fire-ravaged Bank Buildings store in Belfast are to be paid until the end of the year the company has confirmed.

Ten days after the blaze destroyed the listed building, the company re-iterated its commitment to staff and the city centre and said all options were being considered.

There have been growing calls in recent days for the building to be demolished so that shops and streets closed since the fire on Auguest 28 can be re-opened.

Stating that it aimed to have staff redeployed by Monday, September 17, it said its focus remained on them and trading partners in the city centre.

“The Primark team is working very closely with the authorities to determine the best approach to reducing the size of the safety cordon as soon as feasible,” said a spokesperson.

“In the immediate aftermath of the fire, we established a team of specialist engineers to advise on how to secure the structure as soon as possible. This specialist team continues to survey the building to determine its structural integrity and to inform the best next steps to reduce the cordon restrictions. All options are being explored for the future of the structure.”

The spokesperon added that the firm had been working hard to identify suitable premises for a replacement store.

“Primark remains committed to our colleagues, customers and retail community in Belfast. We continue to work with a range of partners in Belfast and we would like to thank everyone once again for their support during this very challenging time.”

The statement comes as CastleCourt shopping centre on Royal Avenue announced it is to reduce parking charges to £1 an hour every Saturday and Sunday in September is a bid to draw custom into the city centre.

“Our message is that despite the current hardships facing not only our 100 tenants in CastleCourt but the surrounding streets, Belfast remains open for business,” said spokesperson Binder Tohani.

“We will continue to work with Belfast City Council and other stakeholders over the coming months and the crucial Christmas period to ensure the entire city centre remains an attractive place for all those who want to shop, work and play here.

“CastleCourt has and will continue to support displaced retailers, by facilitating meetings and offering alternative retail options.”