Belfast Telegraph

Marine Hotel staff left out in cold by closure face bleak Christmas

Staff at a Ballycastle hotel face a bleak Christmas after management gave them two days’ notice that their jobs were gone.

The Marine Hotel shut its doors at noon yesterday. Owners have said it will close for three months but workers are afraid it will not reopen.

The 25 full-time staff held a protest outside the premises yesterday, claiming they had not been fully informed about the closure or their entitlements.

Eamon Ó Hartghaile (51) has worked at the hotel for 16 years and said it would be missed.

“We accept that things were bad and that that hotel was quiet but we were shocked when we found out that we were being let go in two days’ time,” he said.

The father-of-five said the swimming pool and gym facilities were used by the whole community,| including local schools and a senior citizens’ club.

Robert McCann (56), who was the hotel’s maintenance man, said: “We would like to know what we are entitled to; we have not been told anything.

“The only thing we were told was that we would have no job from noon today.”

Hotel owner Mervyn McAllister said the closure was a “last minute decision” and one he did not want to make.

“Unfortunately life’s not fair and it’s not fair on me that my business has been shut as well. It’s not a decision that I wanted to make at all,but unfortunately the decision was made for us by lack of business and lack of custom, particularly with the bad weather.”

Mr McAllister said he hoped the hotel would reopen in March.

North Antrim Sinn Fein MLA Daithi McKay commented: “It’s important now that we |concentrate on saving this sea front facility which has huge economic potential and, more pressingly, ensure that the |workers affected get paid notice that they are entitled to.”

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