Prime Time focuses on vile abuse & harassment faced by retail staff

galway daily news prime time rté retail staff abuse march 2023

Tonight’s Prime Time on RTÉ One will report on the wave of vile abuse, harassment and shoplifting that has hit shops and supermarkets across Ireland.

In tonight’s programme, shop workers across the country tell the programme that they are experiencing a surge in harassment, physical attacks, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.

Shane Gleeson, who runs five Spar shops in Limerick city, told Prime Time that he has had a bottle of wine broken and threatened with the broken glass.

“I’ve had guys with needles… My son was threatened with a knife,” he said.

Shane estimates that petty crime is costing him €70,000 to €80,000 per year in just one of his five shops.

He told Prime Time: “We’ve noticed since Covid a very small element of society has gotten far more aggressive, and it is difficult to deal with.”

“Routinely, they’ll say, ‘I will wait for you outside’, ‘We’ll get you when you go home’, ‘I will kill you… I’ll burn you out’.”

Tara Buckley, Director General of RGDATA, which represents over 4,000 independent grocery stores, told Prime Time: “The amount of crime, day in, day out, shoplifting, theft, assault, harassment, racist attacks, sexual harassment…our members are really concerned.”

“Young staff are being harassed; the racism staff, who are from other countries, have to deal with; spitting, kicking, punching, shouting and making a scene in the store, throwing things at them. It’s actually out of control.”

Sisters Sheila and Catherine Clarke run Clarke’s XL shop in Ballina, Co Mayo. Sheila told Prime Time: “At the moment, we’re almost going through a pandemic of petty crime.”

A recent RGDATA survey of the owners of 400 convenience shops, forecourt stores and supermarkets found that 95% of them have been victims of crime in last twelve months.

The survey found that 93% have been victims of shoplifting and a quarter have been the victims of robberies or burglaries.

The full report, ‘Retail Torment’, will air on Prime Time, RTÉ One and RTÉ Player at 9.35pm tonight.