There are no plans to sell Dunnes Stores to Asda or anyone else, insists director Michael Heffernan, a key member of the family that controls Ireland's largest private retail chain.

The son of company boss Margaret Heffernan broke the board's month-long silence after reports of a pending sale to Wal-Mart/Asda, in an attempt to reassure staff and customers.

"We're here and we're going to be here for the next whatever amount of years," he said. Asked why the company has not issued an assurance earlier, he explained: "Everyone knows we don't comment. We just don't."