Northern Ireland news

Primark 'exploring options' to restart Belfast trading after blaze

The Primark building in central Belfast was gutted in a blaze last week. Picture by Hugh Russell

PRIMARK has said it is "exploring a number of options" to begin trading again in Belfast as soon as possible following last week's devastating fire.

The company stressed its "ongoing commitment to the city of Belfast" and said staff will be paid again this week and next.

Primark's store was gutted on Tuesday last week when a major fire tore through the historic Bank Buildings in the city centre.

Hundreds of workers from the store attended a meeting yesterday with the company's management.

In a statement, a Primark spokeswoman said: "Our management team in Belfast is continuing to work very closely with our colleagues to ensure they are being supported during this time.

"We can confirm that the team were paid this week and will be paid again next week.

"We are working on finalising plans in the coming days and will communicate these directly to our colleagues as soon as possible.

"Primark reiterates our ongoing commitment to the city of Belfast.

"We are looking to be up and trading in the city as soon as possible and are currently exploring a number of options.

"As you can appreciate, there are some areas that we simply can't comment on or confirm today.

"We would like to thank everyone once again for their support during this very challenging time for all concerned."

Paddy Lillis, general secretary of shopworkers trade union Usdaw, described Primark's plans as a "short-term comprehensive response".

He said Usdaw reps would reconvene discussions with the company on Wednesday "to secure long-term support for the staff".

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