Ireland’s Catholic Bishops have offered prayers to staff facing the loss of their jobs after religious store chain Veritas announced it was to shut all of its outlets across the island.
The company, which publishes religious books as well as operating its seven stores including in Derry and Newry, has said it is winding down following a “comprehensive strategic review” in the aftermath of a “significant and sustained” downturn.
The review determined the “alternative of a restructuring process would not mitigate the challenges that exist or sufficiently improve the commercial prospects of the business”, a spokesperson said.
Headquartered in Dublin, the company, which was founded in 1899, employs 80 people, including four in the Newry store.
Veritas chairperson Chris Queenan said: “This is a highly unfortunate situation which we are acutely aware will impact our employees, customers, and the communities we have served for close to 100 years. We are committed to an orderly wind down process where our focus will be on supporting our colleagues during this challenging time.”
“We would like to sincerely thank our colleagues, past and present, for their incredible contribution to the business over the years, and our customers for their enduring loyalty and support.”
All seven stores, which also include locations in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, will shut by the end of the year, along with the company’s Dublin warehouse.
In a joint statement, the Irish Bishops said the firm had “served the publishing and catechetical needs of the Irish Episcopal Conference very well for many years”.
“The decision to begin the wind down and closure of its business operations, including its remaining retail stores, represents a great loss to the Church in Ireland,” they said.
“We understand that Veritas has made this very difficult decision following a number of years of challenging trading conditions, but the announcement brings especially sad news for Veritas employees as well as the many customers and friends of Veritas throughout the country and beyond.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who are directly impacted.”