OUTSPOKEN journalist Vincent Browne has launched a stinging attack on two of Limerick’s most senior politicians for not doing enough for the deprived areas of the city.
Speaking this week, the controversial broadcaster said he is “disappointed” by the performance of both Finance Minister Michael Noonan and former Cabinet minister Willie O’Dea during their tenure at the Government’s top table.
“With regard to Michael Noonan and another local politician, Willie O’Dea, I think that it is disappointing - these two have been fairly major national figures in politics and you would have expected that maybe they would have spent a lot of their time ensuring that resources were devoted to the deprived areas of Limerick. I think the fact that deprivation has continued in Limerick is not a good commentary on their effectiveness,” he said.
The city, he says, has seen infrastructural changes for the better but is still struggling in terms of tackling its social problems. “Obviously, it’s depressing that there are still areas of terrible deprivation in Limerick although there has been recent progress in Moyross for instance which is very welcome.”
The veteran journalist who hails from Broadford in the county will be honoured in the city next Tuesday when he receives a lifetime achievement award for his outstanding contribution to journalism in Ireland over the past 40 years.
He will be presented with the award at the Limerick Person of the Year 2012 ceremony at the Clarion Hotel where the outstanding achievements of 12 individuals from the city and county will be saluted. “I feel a bit intimidated because it’s as though you are reading one’s obituary. I’m not quite ready for that yet,” said Vincent this week.
Over the past four decades, Vincent has been to the forefront of journalism in Ireland exposing numerous scandals and pursuing stories that would otherwise have gone untold.
“Vincent Browne is one of the greatest journalists Ireland has ever produced,” commented Alan English, editor of the Limerick Leader. “He has been making a difference for more than 40 years, editing the best current affairs magazine the country has known in Magill, running the Sunday Tribune in its glory years and more recently hosting the most compelling current affairs programme on TV. He’s never forgotten his roots and Limerick is proud of him.”
Having survived more than 40 years at the coalface of journalism, Vincent admits that these are worrying times for both the media industry. Despite the move towards more online content, Vincent maintains there is still a healthy appetite for the local newspaper. “I think that local is a huge factor still. I get the Limerick Leader – there is a newsagents near me that sells the Leader so I get it fairly frequently. I look for the Broadford notes, first thing.”
The other reason he buys it is of course to read the latest news concerning his beloved Munster. What does he think of their performance so far this season? “At least they are into the next round which Leinster aren’t,” he noted. “Obviously the Munster team is in transition but there is a lot of hope. I think Ronan O’Gara is still a major asset. I think he is a major asset for Ireland as well but maybe that’s a little Munster bias.”