Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Take-over of Curley’s by Sainsbury

16 January, 2008

Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Gerry Adams MLA has been speaking over the last few days to Justin King, Sainsbury's Chief Executive, and to Hugh Kennedy about the proposed takeover of the Kennedy Centre.

Mr Adams said:

"Many people, from west Belfast and beyond, who have used this store for decades will regret its going."

The Sinn Féin MP raised with Sainsbury's CEO a number of concerns about the future development and sustainability of the site; jobs and job security for the hundreds employed there; the relationship with local traders and how much of what it sells Sainsbury's will source from local produce; prices on the supermarket shelf; and the future of the existing close links between the west Belfast community and community organisations and Sainsbury's.

Mr. Adams said:

"The Kennedy family through Curley's and the Kennedy Centre have made an enormous and positive contribution to the west Belfast community. I want to thank them for that and to wish them well in the future.

"The Kennedy Centre is the major retail centre in west Belfast. It employs hundreds of people directly, and many more indirectly.

"Its future development and sustainability is vital for the west Belfast economy.

"I was told by Sainsbury's CEO that it's their intention to double the size of the store and to double the size of the number employed there. This along with increased job security for staff is to be welcomed.

"The Kennedy centre also contains a number of other retail outlets and local businesses and we have been told by Sainsbury's that their future is secure. We have agreed to meet to discuss Sainsbury's relationship with the local traders, and how much produce it will source from the local economy.

"We also want to discuss with Sainsbury's its future relationship with the west Belfast community. Curley's was very pro-active in supporting local community organisations and campaigns, including the use of bi-lingual signage.

"Inevitably also there will be concern among customers about what this will mean for prices on the supermarket shelf. This too is an issue we will be taking up with the new owners." ENDS

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