LIMERICK Twenty Thirty chairman Denis Brosnan has been called to make a public apology for comments where he reportedly described the closing of Dell’s manufacturing plant as “the best thing to happen to Limerick”.
Speaking at this Monday’s meeting of Limerick City and County Council, Independent councillor John Loftus described the former Kerry Group chief executive’s comments as “disgusting and disgraceful”.
“Dell employees lost their jobs, some of them lost their homes and some of them even lost their lives to suicide. He should make a public apology. It was totally disgusting, a statement by a moron,” Cllr Loftus commented.
He was advised by Mayor Stephen Keary to retract his comments but refused. Then after words of advice from Fianna Fail councillor Sean Lynch, the City West representative said, “I withdraw the moron bit”.
Mr Brosnan, who chairs Limerick Twenty Thirty, has worked with the local authority to develop the city’s economy since 2009. He was reported of making the comments about the Dell closure after Limerick City and County Council last week signed a €85 million loan deal with the Council of Europe Bank for the redevelopment of the Opera Centre site on Patrick Street.
Mr Brosnan last week followed up his comments about Dell’s manufacturing plant by saying: “Without that, the government would not have been shocked into seeing Limerick had hit an all time low and something needed to be done.”
Fianna Fail councillor Kieran O’Hanlon said he was seriously concerned about comments about Mr Brosnan and felt some of them were “over the top”.
“He is giving freely of his time,” Cllr O’Hanlon pointed out.
Sinn Fein councillor Seamus Browne felt there was an element using Limerick Twenty Thirty as a “whipping boy”. He saw it as a “new departure with no blueprint” and believes that work is being carried out in good faith.
“We need to ask ourselves if we really want change or if we just want to talk about it?” he asked.
Independent councillor John Gilligan described Cllr Browne’s comments as “most condescending”.
“How dare you,” he added.
Sinn Fein councillor John Costelloe agreed with Cllr Gilligan’s view that more liaison was needed between councillors and the executive.
Referring to the local authority’s decision to purchase the former Salesian school and convent at Fernbank, he said “it was not acceptable to learn about this in the Limerick Post”.
Labour Party councillor Joe Leddin said the local authority was “extremely fortunate” to have a man of Mr Brosnan’s calibre leading the charge and felt his comments were taken out of context. He agreed that the closure of Dell’s manufacturing plant was a catalyst for the positive changes now being seen in the city.
Independent councillor Richard O’Donoghue said that Denis Brosnan was “unselfish and 100 per cent behind people”.
“He not only talks the talk. He walks the walk,” he commented.
Council chief executive Conn Murray said it was “unfortunate” that councillors were last to know about the purchase of the Salesian Convent and promised to work on opening up better lines of communication.
Regarding comments made about Mr Brosnan, he said: “He has given extraordinary time, commitment and expertise to the region”.
by Alan Jacques