The High Court has granted an injunction to the provisional liquidators of the Irish arm of retailer, Debenhams, preventing unlawful actions and any interference with efforts to remove stock from its former stores.

The injunction applies to anyone with knowledge of the order. Copies will be put at the entrances of the stores and shopping centres.

The injunction was granted to the joint provisional liquidators Kieran Wallace and Andrew O'Leary of KPMG, who were appointed last April.

Three named protesters Stephen Troy from Belvedere Manor, Co Waterford, Denis O'Brien from Browns Road, Waterford and Carole Bridgeman from Ballyvolane, Co Cork, gave undertakings to comply with the injunction.

Judge Leonie Reynolds urged the liquidators to reopen a line of communication with the workers and said the trade union Mandate should make the nature of the injunction clear to its members.

Trade union representative, Carole Bridgeman, who worked at the Mahon Point store in Cork for 15 years,  denied the protests by workers at various stores were unlawful.

She also claimed Mr Wallace had attempted to smear the workers in his sworn document.  He had claimed the dispute had taken a "more sinister turn" with most of those on the picket line, wearing masks. 

But she said most of the workers were mothers and grandmothers, wearing masks as part of public health advice.

Ms Bridgeman said the workers'  industrial action and campaign for a just settlement following their "disgraceful" treatment by Debenhams, had been peaceful and dignified at all times.

However, under questioning from judge Leonie Reynolds, she accepted she had been involved in an unlawful occupation of a store on Patrick street in cork, which ended peacefully.

She said she was also one of a number of people who would only allow a truck to leave the Mahon Point store last Saturday if it was empty.

But she said this was because the truck owner had contacted picketers to get agreement to remove the vehicle.

Ms Bridgeman said the staff were seeking two weeks' statutory redundancy plus two weeks pay for each year worked, under an agreement she claims was made between the Mandate Trade Union and Debenhams four years ago.

She said the UK parent company, which is now dissolved, had "siphoned off" revenues from Ireland since lockdown and she said the estimated €25m worth of stock in the stores would meet the workers' demands.

She said there was a need for the liquidators to get back around the table to try to resolve the six-month-old dispute and the injunction would make their campaign for justice more challenging.

Ms Bridgeman's sworn document was supported by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald as well as TDs, Brid Smith and Mick Barry.