The real cost of Dell blow

THE LOSS of the payroll of Limerick's Dell workers could take as much as €117m of disposal income out of the local economy, a "secret" Government report has predicted.

An unpublished report prepared last December by Forfas, the national policy advisory body for enterprise and science, has predicted that almost 9,500 jobs will be lost in the Mid-West as a result of job cuts at Dell's Raheen plant in Limerick.

Described as "commercially sensitive – not for wider circulation," the report estimates that 2,510 workers would be made redundant by Dell with the consequent loss of almost 7,000 other jobs in related companies.

Forfas have also calculated that up to 9,500 redundancies in the Mid-West would result in a €173m loss to the exchequer through a reduction in PAYE and PRSI contributions.

Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea declined to comment on the report this Tuesday morning, stating that it is a matter for the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan, to address. Forfs was established in 1994 as an agency of Minister Coughlan's department.

Labour Deputy Jan O'Sullivan said not releasing the document to the public is another attempt by the Government "in attempting to spin and manage the news again."

Deputy O'Sullivan said she believes the potential impact of cutbacks in Dell on other companies "is a realistic figure, unfortunately."

Business figures, including those at Limerick Chamber of Commerce, had long predicted the figure could be as high as 10,000, stating Dell's closure would result in an industrial tsunami in the Mid-West.

"That has been the ball-park figure that has been predicted for some time. We are all aware that two to three companies are directly dependent on Dell. Worse, there is a feeling that the powers that be know an awful lot more than we're being told and we need some straight talking from Minister Coughlan," said Deputy O'Sullivan.

She added that the economy in the Mid-West is resilient, but all the information should be given so that a rescue plan can be properly prepared. The potential loss of €117m to the local economy is "extremely worrying," she said.

Furthermore, Deputy O'Sullivan urged that funding for the regeneration programme should be brought forward. "Parts of that project could begin straight away. It would create hope for people and supply jobs," she said.

In January last, Dell announced that it is to close its manufacturing base in Limerick with the loss of 1,900 jobs. Now, a further 110 of its 1,100 staff members will be sought for redundancy.

Mayor of Limerick, John Gilligan, yesterday said it is time to accept Dell will quit the city completely.

To read that story, click here


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