Gone East

The impotence of government ministers was laid bare today, as pc maker Dell Inc went ahead with it’s plans to slash most of the jobs in it’s Limerick screwdriver assembly plant.

Tánaiste Mary Coughlan and defence minister Willie O’Dea – who hails from the constituency of Limerick East – travelled to Dell headquarters in Texas just before Christmas in a desperate bid to save the jobs.

The impression given afterwards was that the two ministers went to plead with Dell to change their minds about the jobs.

Unfortunately for Limerick, the cap in hand approach left Michael Dell unimpressed.

Meanwhile, the EU is to investigate the €52.7m aid package used by the Polish government to persuade Dell to invest in its plant in Lodz.

EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes hopes to rule on the aid package by July.

All of which raises interesting questions, not just about the footloose nature of our industrial base, but about the fate of the Lisbon treaty vote in the Limerick constituencies.

Last time round, Limerick East voted No by a margin of 3106 votes.

It would be interesting to know how the Dell workers voted, and what they will make of the EU report come July.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.