FORMER Defence Minister Willie O’Dea has hit back at southside Labour councillor Joe Leddin, saying his government did create jobs.
In a letter to the Limerick Leader, Cllr Leddin criticised Mr O’Dea after he suggested Finance Minister Michael Noonan might be “playing games” when it came to the announcement of 400 jobs.
Cllr Leddin wrote: “Let me remind Deputy O’Dea that when he was sitting at the Cabinet table representing the people of Limerick he delivered no jobs for 14 years to this city. He presided over the loss of 2,000 jobs in Dell and then went on the airwaves stating that he was in advanced talks with Dell to deliver 700 jobs.”
But Mr O’Dea described Cllr Leddin’s statement as “crass” - and accused the Labour party of breaking pre-election promises.
“Since the Labour party joined the cabinet table, Limerick has become an unemployment blackspot, with the highest unemployment rate in the country. If we had a job for every promise Labour has broken since their election, we would have almost full employment in the country,” he said.
He said during his time in government, jobs were created, saying: “We had a lot of replacement jobs being created in the economy. With the industries which went under due to the changes in market conditions in Limerick, if there were no jobs replacing them, there would be hardly anyone working at all. There were an awful lot of job losses, but there were an awful lot of replacement jobs.”
He said Fianna Fail can take credit for the National Technology Park and UL, which employ thousands between them.
He also defended the comments he made on the radio following Dell’s decision to chop 1,900 jobs - that the same company wanted to bring 700 new jobs to Raheen: “They were hoping to grow the plant if market conditions suited. But of course, market conditions did not suit, and Dell were forced to cut down its expansion,” he concluded.