Twenty-two jobs have been lost with the announcement that the four Colman Doyle's businesses situated on South Main Street are to remain closed indefinitely following the recent passing of owner Colette Doyle.

The closures have also come as a major blow to the planned regeneration of South Main Street.

Colette had helped to build up the historic family business on South Main Street alongside her late brother Colman who passed away in 2015, as well as growing their property portfolio. Following Colman's passing all of the family business interests passed to Colette, however, as she had no family of her own, major uncertainty surrounded the future of the businesses in the wake of her death in recent weeks.

While mourning the loss of their employer, some 22 staff members across the Colman Doyle's businesses were hit with a double blow as it emerged this week that they had been made redundant and there were no plans to reopen the stores. 'In the immediate future we've been told that there's no realistic prospect of any of the businesses re-opening,' a staff member said.

'But as far as we're concerned, it's done. It's over. We've been made redundant.'

It's believed that the situation may have been complicated further by the fact that a final will and testament has not yet been recovered for Ms Doyle.

This has left solicitors to embark on what could be an extremely lengthy process to try and establish who should inherit the family fortune.

A source close to the case said that it was an 'incredibly complicated' situation; that there was no reasonable expectation of the Colman Doyle's businesses re-opening at any time soon, and that the legal fallout in terms of appointing an heir could rumble on for months if not years.

Meanwhile, this leaves several more buildings on South Main Street now lying idle; an area of town that can ill afford it.

Wexford County Council announced its interest in purchasing the Dun Mhuire Theatre (which also now lies idle) in the hopes of installing some kind of civic space and amenities that officials hope will go some way towards sparking a regeneration at that end of town.

However, commercial vacancy on the street is now at an all-time high.

With huge space in the former Lowney's Mall and Dun Mhuire now being joined by no fewer than five buildings that were contained in the property portfolio of Colman and Colette Doyle, there will be calls for more urgent action to save a once bustling end of Wexford's Main Street.

The whole situation has added to the sense of sadness at the end of an era for retail in Wexford.

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