Multi-agency response needed to counter Dell Limerick withdrawal

13 Jan 2009

The Mid-West Regional Authority (MWRA) is working with Shannon Development, Forfás and other regional agencies, as well as the local business community, to prepare a strategic plan aimed at offsetting the impact of Dell’s devastating pull out of Limerick.

The 1,900 job cuts announced by Dell in Limerick will be brought into sharp focus in a comprehensive Economic Strategy document currently being prepared in the Mid-West region.

The Mid-West Regional Authority (MWRA), in conjunction with Shannon Development, Forfás, other regional agencies, the wider business community and local government, is preparing the Regional Economic Strategy for the Mid West.

“The strategy document will provide a policy platform for the region’s economic development over the next decade and how it can position itself higher up the economic value chain. It is designed to inform and guide other agencies in jobs creation initiatives in the Limerick/Shannon gateway and wider Mid-West region,” Liam Conneally, director of the MWRA explained.

He noted that the Regional Authority is willing and anxious to participate in a multi-agency response to the loss of employment at Dell directly and in downstream support services.

“The loss of 1900 jobs at the Limerick plant is extremely bad news for Limerick City but also for the mid-west region and beyond, including businesses in Tipperary, Clare, north Cork and Kerry. In this regard, any Government response to the loss of jobs at Dell must take a regional approach.”

He emphasised the urgent need to refocus the mid-west region’s economy towards the higher-value areas.

“The MWRA supports Government policy in the National Spatial Strategy to develop a critical mass of population, infrastructure, connectivity and competitiveness in the Limerick/Shannon gateway, which will be capable of attracting international investment into the future. The Authority will continue to assist the regional taskforce in any way it can, in particular in providing regional data and information,” Conneally said.

Councillor Bernard Hanrahan, MWRA Cathaoirleach, said that the Regional Authority is cogently aware of the gravity of the recent announcement for the Limerick and mid-west areas.

“The MWRA calls on Government to provide the necessary supports to ensure the workers being laid off are sufficiently skilled to avail of new job opportunities. Furthermore, we are calling on Government to work with agencies in the mid-west in order to protect and nurture the competitiveness of the region as an attractive location for inward investment.”

The Regional Economic Strategy for the mid-west is being prepared as part of the Regional Planning Guidelines. It is scheduled for completion in Autumn 2009.

By John Kennedy