Noonan lets fly at Tánaiste over mid-west ‘inaction’

FORMER Fine Gael leader Michael Noonan yesterday accused Tánaiste Mary Coughlan of speaking “a load of guff” on the Mid-West Task Force.

The head of the task force Denis Brosnan has already issued a “put up or shut up” warning to the Tánaiste over government inaction on 20 proposals sent to it.

Mr Noonan said: “She is expressing views prepared for her by people who do not understand what is happening in the mid-west region. It’s such guff that it is difficult to tell whether we are seeking to address the same problem.”

Most of the claims being made by the Tánaiste are not happening on the ground, the Limerick TD said. “It is appalling that 12 months after all the redundancies... we are still at this stage.

“Long before the jobs were lost in Dell and the other associated firms, the Tánaiste, along with the local senior minister and all the other Cabinet [members] knew what was going to happen but did not share the information with either the workers or the public for quite a long time before the redundancies were established. At the time the Tánaiste kept the story going that she was going to save these jobs up to Christmas. She was not being straight with the people of Limerick then and she is not being straight with the people of Limerick now.”

Mr Noonan said Ms Coughlan spoke of IDA Ireland being the pillar of initiatives in the mid-west region. He added: “IDA Ireland has done nothing for Limerick in the past two to three years. Its senior executives did not even meet the task force. No IDA Ireland manager based in Dublin bothered to meet the task force. Neither Enterprise Ireland nor IDA Ireland has delivered one single job coming from inward investment in the region in the past two years. Their record is appalling.

“To try and assure us that everything will be all right because IDA Ireland has it in hand is absolute cod.”

He said Shannon Airport was on the way to being closed down because of the apathy of the Government and the hostility of the Dublin Airport Authority.

“Shannon must be given autonomy and allowed find its own way,” he said.


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