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Retailer, 94, hails reopening of shop as among ‘most happiest days of my life’

Tom Monaghan feared the coronavirus restrictions would bring an end to his family’s cashmere knitwear shop in Dublin.

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Tom Monaghan (Monaghan’s Cashmere/PA)

Tom Monaghan (Monaghan’s Cashmere/PA)

Tom Monaghan (Monaghan’s Cashmere/PA)

A 94-year-old Dublin retailer has said the reopening of his business marks one of the “most happiest days of my life”.

Tom Monaghan, who is one of the city’s oldest business owners, feared the coronavirus restrictions would bring an end to his family’s cashmere knitwear shop.

Despite overcoming three recessions, Mr Monaghan described the last 12 weeks as the most challenging.

The Covid-19 closure was the first time the store has been shut in its 60-year history.

I have been bored stiff at home latelyTom Monaghan

However, the shop reopened its doors on Monday following weeks of preparation to ensure the South Anne Street store was ready.

Mr Monaghan still works in the shop he founded with his late wife Teresa, while his daughter Suzanne took over the day-to-day running of the business and has designed her own range of cashmere.

The 94-year-old’s grandchildren also work in the store, marking three generations of the Monaghan family now serving a third generation of customers.

Mr Monaghan said: “The last three months were awful – I thought at one stage that I would never be here again. I thought perhaps in the beginning it would close for one week, maybe two, but it went on for 12 weeks.

“I thank God today that I am here today. It reminds me of the day my late wife Teresa and myself opened our store in the Grafton Arcade in October 1960. I think today is as exciting as it was that day.

“I have been bored stiff at home lately but I was fortunate that my son Paul has a farm in Kilcock and I was able to spend some time with him and his family, and watch new life coming into the world with new foals and calves being born.”

Mr Monaghan, who has poor eyesight, relies on the radio and television for news about Covid-19.

It's a very exciting day and I am looking forward to seeing our customers againTom Monaghan

He said he is fortunate to stay close to his daughters and grandchildren, who often visited him during the lockdown.

Speaking about the reopening of the store, Mr Monaghan added: “It’s a very exciting day and I am looking forward to seeing our customers again.

“We have a great customer base here despite depending a lot on tourism, which we won’t have this year. I know they will continue to support us.

“I have been through three recessions, none of them were nearly as bad as this. This is the most difficult and trying time for everybody in retail and for people who will lose their jobs.

“But today is one of the most happiest days of my life, with the exception of the first day we opened the first business in 1960.”

PA