The director of Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin has said a number of retailers at the centre may not be able to operate full opening hours when they reopen due to a shortage of staff.

Speaking on RTÉ's Brendan O’Connor programme, Don Nugent said the pressure was on for retailers to recruit staff during what he said was "a very short window".

He said, however, that he was optimistic the jobs would be filled in good time, but said there would be "a few weeks of unsettlement".

"Yesterday, we had 6,000 people look at our website on the jobs page specifically, so it is really being taken up, and so while there’s a lot of pressure on, the jobs are being filled quite quick," he said.

He added however that the issue would mean that "for a number of weeks we may not be able to have all our tenants doing their full hours".

He said some non-Irish nationals may have returned home, or that people may have taken jobs in offices where they felt they needed to work, adding that he thinks things will settle back to normal soon.

"It will just be a few weeks of unsettlement."

Mr Nugent said the centre will be open for hairdressers, click-and-collect services, as well as shopping by appointment in some outlets from Monday.

He said he was not expecting a mad rush to shops on Monday week, when the full reopening of non-essential retail takes place.

He also said the average spending rates in the centre were higher when they reopened in December, despite reduced footfall, as "shoppers are not coming in to browse, they are coming in on a mission".

"We’ve all got a little more confidence. We’re a little more used to going out with our masks and so on. People have been very compliant in terms of their behaviour".

Staffing issues at retailers

Minister of State with responsibility for EU Affairs, Thomas Byrne, has said there are various reasons behind why there may be staff shortages leading to retailer opening hours being shortened.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Saturday with Katie Hannon programme, Mr Byrne said there are thousands of retailers around the country who cannot wait to get back open, adding that he has "no doubt they will be ready willing and able to get back selling".

"If your job is back, then your job is back," he said, adding that he believed many multinational retailers are well able to ensure they are attractive to staff.

Speaking on the same programme, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Louise O’Reilly said, citing those in the hospitality sector, that some had lost staff to jobs abroad in London.

She said one of the things the Government needs to do is ensure there is "no cliff-edge", so that people know that there is an element of security when they return to work, and that their employer can stay open.

"During this pandemic, thousands of retail workers lost their jobs, they didn’t have their collective agreements honoured," she said.

Labour’s Ged Nash told the programme that to a point, the issue was a commentary on the preponderance of low pay and casual contracts in the retail sector.

He said if anything was to come out of the pandemic, it was a drive forward in terms of improving people’s working conditions and providing them with a living wage.