Political row over Dell privatisation proposal in Limerick

by Alan Jacques


dellLIMERICK Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea has warned that a proposal from the Socialist Party, that Dell and other multinational firms operating in Limerick would be taken in to public ownership, could threaten thousands of local jobs.

Speaking on RTE Radio last week-end, Socialist Party TD Ruth Coppinger said that multinational firms should be taken over by the State. She made specific reference to Dell, which employs 2,500 people in Ireland between its sites in Limerick and Cherrywood in Dublin.

Deputy O’Dea insists that the Socialist and Anti Austerity Alliance strategy to nationalise industries would be a threat to thousands of Limerick jobs. Foreign direct investment, he said, “has been one of the economic success stories in Limerick”.

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“Thousands of people are employed in industries all over the Mid-West and it will come as news to those employees that her party is willing to take such a cavalier attitude with their jobs. While the Socialist Party has latched on to opposition to water charges as a popular cause with which to build support, their core economic strategy is based on an utterly unrealistic assumption that all major industries can be controlled by the State,” the Fianna Fail TD claimed.

Deputy O’Dea also called on AAA councillor for City North, Cian Prendiville, to reveal whether he shares his colleague’s views.

“Most people now accept that a modern economy needs a partnership approach between public and private enterprise. The merest hint that such a policy could be implemented by government would see a flight of companies from Limerick and the State,” he said.

However, Cllr Prendiville said he completely stands over the proposal, made in 2009 by himself and his then Socialist Party colleagues for workers to stage a sit-in at the Dell plant in Raheen and demand the government “plant, all equipment and assets in democratic public ownership to safeguard all jobs”.

“The alternative was to do what Willie O’Dea and his government did: stand by and watch Limerick be plunged into a depression to satisfy the greed of a multinational.

“Let’s remember that this took place on Willie O’Dea’s watch. He was a government Minister at the time. The closure was not because EMF 3 wasn’t productive or profitable, or because Dell was in financial difficulty. In fact, they made $727m in profits the year before they closed down. They simply wanted more money and higher profits. It was greed, plain and simple,” he concluded.