Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said her party will publish legislation this afternoon to prevent "tactical liquidations and insolvencies".

Raising the issue of the Debenhams workers during Leaders Questions in the Dáil, Ms McDonald called on the Government to support the legislation.

She said it must make time before the summer recess to ensure that the law to protect workers is on the statute books.

She said she was "alarmed and disappointed "by the Taoiseach's response yesterday when the matter of the Debenhams workers was raised.

Ms McDonald said Debenhams had "used a tactical liquidation of their Irish stores to walk away from all of their responsibilities to their workers".

She said the same had happened to Clerys workers in 2015 when she said staff were left "high and dry" by their employers and did not receive their statutory redundancy. Ms McDonald said the State was left to foot the bill.

She called for immediate and effective action and she said workers want Government to engage with liquidators KPMG.

Ms McDonald said workers want Debenhams to honour previous agreements to pay two weeks redundancy per year of service in addition to statutory redundancy.

Responding, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said his response yesterday was not lacklustre.

He said Debenhams treated workers very poorly and he said the State would do everything it can to support the workers who had been made redundant.

Mr Martin said the programme for Government outlines the need to  review legislation with a view to closing off mechanisms by which companies can treat workers so badly.

He said Debenhams should do the right thing by their workers and should pay the levels of redundancy agreed previously.

Former Debenhams workers stopped trucks from leaving and entering Cork's Patrick Street's store this week

Meanwhile, the liquidators appointed by the High Court to wind down Debenhams Ireland say they are disappointed at the protest action at a number of stores blocking the removal of stock.

In a statement issued to RTÉ News, the Joint Liquidators Kieran Wallace and Andrew O'Leary of KPMG said that while they recognise people's right to protest peacefully, they believe the former workers action in blocking the removal of stock owned by concession holders is unfair.

"The Liquidators believe it is unfair to prevent concession holders, who are simply seeking the return of stock which is owned by them and has no relevance to the liquidation of the Debenhams business in Ireland, from accessing the stores," the statement said. 

"The action by protestors creates a difficulty for the owners of the concession business and their employees."

The statement follows a standoff on Monday in which former workers stopped trucks from leaving Cork's Patrick Street's store with concession stock and blocked three lorries from accessing the site yesterday.

Speaking from the official Mandate picket line this morning, former Debenhams worker Madeline Whelan appealed to the concession owners to contact Debenhams UK directly in a bid to resolve the issue.

"We have been nothing but kind to the drivers coming in here, and said nothing to the concession staff who are passing a Mandate picket.

"But we now are asking the concessions to speak with Debenhams in the UK to get them to talk to us so that the situation here - now in its 13th week - can be resolved."

Additional reporting Jennie O'Sullivan