Brosnan Angry at Inaction on Dell Taskforce findings

For all that, he’s not terribly clear on what he thinks can be done. Most of his presentation, as reported, seemed to about expecting someone, anyone, to pour money into the place. I know he suggests inviting private finance in to build a motorway that can then be tolled. But what private finance would want to put money into infrastructure that depends on a buoyant local economy to make a return, if things are truly as bleak as Brosnan says?

I mean, what’s the unique features of the Mid West that Brosnan thinks gives it an advantage? Its not as if the region was starved of support in the past. The whole ‘someone [else] needs to wake up and do something’ mindset needs to ditched in favour of identifying where local resources can be mobilised to make a profit. Because the country does not need yet another bunch of eejits turning up wanting a financial dig-out. We need people turning up saying “don’t bother putting money into that, we can do it ourselves”.

Now, maybe his presentation was better than the reported whinge. Maybe my beef is with the newspaper and not Brosnan. But that article deserves a response in the form of a photocopy of my hairy white ass.

Just to play Devils Advocate here a bit - as I understand it the time was that Shannon Development was doing a pretty fair job of helping to stimulate industry in the area and they were doing so with little or no government funding (I stand ready to be corrected about that). And then the Mary Harney and the IDA decided that Shannon Development should be subsumed by the IDA. So I suppose if you had a local body to organise and stimulate industry and the national government took it over then you could be at least somewhat justified in asking what if anything they are going to do now that the excrement has hit the air-circulation device.

As I understand it, Shannon Development was set up initially to generate traffic for Shannon Airport, as longer-range jet aircraft were making it irrelevant. Initially, it had a special tax regime and (up to quite recently) legal obligations on trans-Altantic airlines obliging them to use the airport. As part of the arrangement Dublin Airport’s runway was deliberately kept stunted - a situation that is still not rectified - to ensure that only Shannon could compete for business in certain sectors.

I don’t know a hell of a lot about Shannon Development’s budget. But I’ve a strong feeling that the “little or no government funding” belief is just the usual reluctance that you’d expect a body like Shannon Development to have to acknowledging central government support. Certainly, they do have a budget for paying grants to industry. And (as hopefully you’ll have picked up) quite massive supports have been put into the Mid West region, which imposed burdens on the rest of the country, so it would actually be quite ludicrous if the Mid West, of all places, was to pretend it had been neglected by the State.

However, that said, what I chiefly found disappointing in that article (and I stress the article, because it would be particularly dismaying if it accurate reflects the outlook of someone who chaired a significant Irish company) is the assumption that nothing can move without Government support. Its this picture that there’s a resevoir somewhere filled with jobs, and the Government are the only ones able to pipe the stuff into Limerick.

I mean, what’s that all about? Folk who, in another discussion, would be decried as tea-drinking layabout public servants (note: I’m not making this charge - I’m parodying it) are the only ones who can spot a commercial opportunity? While the dynamic, risk-taking, shrewd, hard working Mid West business class - who allegedly up to this had world class business skills that Shannon Development were able to market globally “with little or no government funding” - suddenly haven’t a clue how to make a living? Can you see the irony there?

I really don’t want to believe the article is an accurate reflection of the views of a former head of Kerry Group. I really don’t want to believe that Kerry Group’s success was so dependent on State support for agriculture, the food industry and incentives for indigenous exporters that its head would see no way of conducting a commerical enterprise without them.

Mr Brosnan obviously isn’t familiar with why Governments set up Committees & Taskforces…it certainly isn’t because they want action !

I’m surprised he’s surprised!

They even made a profit a number of years on their commercial activities making everyone else look bad - that was their cardinal sin! :open_mouth:

If they really wanted to help the Mid West they would cut the
minimum wage for the region. Its ludicrous to have the same
min wage where housing costs are 50pc lower.

Then again, the whole idea of a minimum wage when we have
400k unemployed…

Dell was a small operation when they came to Limerick and grew exponentially over a short period of time due to re-engineering of the process to make it as efficient as possible. This re-engineering was done by local employee’s (from the guys on the floor to the Manager). Changes that were made in Limerick were adopted at other Dell sites. To say the skills are not available is not true.

What happened is that as Dell grew the region became too dependent on it. No new Industry of note was brought to the Mid West in the last decade. The expansion of Dell disguised the issue and when they pulled the plug it created a massive vacum. Its well worth noting that the possibility was well flagged years before it happened, yet nothing was done

If the Pharma/Chemical Industry decided Cork was no longer the best place for them, or Finance in Dublin (which is not beyond the bounds of possibility). It would create a similar economic vacum.

PS The average cost of a home in Ireland is just over 200k (PTSB who are well behind the curve), Are you saying that in the Mid West it is 100k. There still in bubble territory in the mid west

Forget the average cost of a home on ptsb. Its a lagging indicator.

I just did a daft search on 3 bed rental properties (asking rents are less inflated than asking prices) in Limerick suburbs and Dublin South. Sorting by price, the Limerick mid point is about 750 /month. The same approach in South Dublin yields about 1300 / month. So you can rent a 3 bed house in Limerick for about half that in Dublin (if you just pay the asking rent).

If the purpose of a minimum wage is to ensure minimum quality of life, then you should take into account the different costs in different places or keep it low overall. Assuming that you think the min wage is a good idea having the same minimum wage for two regions with very different costs of living is nonsensical.

If you want to target jobs to a region, simply exempt it from the minimum wage for 15 years and sit back and watch investment arrive. I think this is one area we still have jurisdiction over.

Having an € 8.65 minimum wage (set in 2000 when $1=€1) is crazy anyway when the $ is now $1.39 to the euro. That is $12 per hour. For reference the California minimum wage is $8 and the US federal min wage is $7.25 / hr. Puerto Rico is $4.10. With a self-imposed handicap like this, what hope do we have attracting labour intensive industry of any kind to the mid west ?

To the best of my memory, Dell said that electricity costs were the main reason they were leaving Ireland. Were they not 38% above EU average?
Prices have now been reduced, after the horse bolted, but are still at least 10% above average. Dell gave long notice that they were thinking of leaving. Apart from sending Mary Coughlan over to the States after it was all over, its hard to see that anything concrete was done to keep Dell or other departed industries here.

The FDI CEOs have also been telling us for years that our pathetic broadband will drive them out.

Doctrinaire Thatcherism seems to have driven a reliance on privatisation to solve everthing, when in practice, it has racked up costs and solved nothing. For some types of infrastructure, Ireland is just too small a population at too low a density for market competition to operate in any meaningful way. Plus, in any kind of a networks - water -electricity -broadband - integration and connectivity is important.

The answer has to involve planned national solutions, without allowing ourselves to be ransomed by either public monopolies or private cartels.

UK minimum wage is more relevant. It’s £5.80 for over 22s and £4.83 for 18-22
Equivalents in euro: €6.64 and €5.53

Brosnan’s report said: cut welfare, cut minimum wage, cut employer and employee taxes, offer tax breaks to business, build more infrastructure, get more people back to education. Also it recommended favouring the midwest over other regions for spending. I thought it mostly OK apart from the idea of pouring more money into the Shannon money pit and the idea that the midwest had it worst.

Limerick has a problem. It is a shithole. I lived there and I won’t be living there again. If I had a job there I would build a house 20 miles outside the town and install some cameras. Most towns have some bad areas, the ghettos. But Limerick consists of an agglomeration of ghettos. It’s of a size where every scummer is in easy walking distance of the city centre and everyone who can gets the fuck out. It’s our own mini-detroit without the music.

There is no point in trying to ‘fix’ Limerick. Rebuilding Moyross is going to achieve what?. Why not try to get somewhere viable off the ground? Either Cork or Galway might have a shot at growth and hence jobs and a propserity based on something other than sucking on Dublin. First step would be halt every bullshit regional subsidy in the western region and hand the money to Cork or Galway instead.


You can also increase minimum wage in Dublin so companies would inclined to move their operations to Limerick. It should way easier politically :wink:

This seems to be the line Shannon Development are spinning to preserve their own existence. Presumably because, for all the advantages given to it, the Mid West has not shown much by way of results. GVA per worker is actually below the national average.

I just get that feeling this line is a confection that would melt if studied deeply. A for instances from that article I linked

If they were self-financing, they wouldn’t be getting any grant from anyone, never mind whether it was ‘small’.

Plus, what happened between their formation by Central Government in 1959 and the 1990s? Because SFADCO was most certainly formed with Central Government funds, and received additional central government funds all through that period. Does their ‘self-financing’ produce enough of a surplus to justify that investment? Or are we supposed to be taking account of Shannon Development’s LTEV? Is it too much to expect ‘profit’ to mean they are returning a commercial dividend to the taxpayer?

I’ve seriously learned a lot from reading posts on this site, and the material here allows the average punter to see far more when following press coverage of events. Infacta, when some economic matter makes headlines I generally browse here to see what folk are saying, as its almost always worth it.

Yet, side by side with that, I can’t help noticing how folk who can be so clued in on questions about the banks let all that go when its something that they have a gra for.

The ‘self-financing’ canard is quickly exposed for what it is when the topic is NAMA. Now its Shannon Development, however, and suddenly the level of analysis seems to fall to ‘ching ching, bit of cash, know what I mean’.

Now, do I expect a regional development body to make a profit? Probably not. But neither do I expect unrealistic or just plain wrong statements to be made about it.

But isn’t the point more why, despite all these skills you talk of, industry is something ‘brought’ to the Mid West, rather than something that is generated within the region.

Can I stress, I see this as a problem with our national mindset, not just the Mid West one. I think its bordering on the comical when you hear folk saying (as sometimes they do, but not on this thread) that the Government should attract in companies that aren’t too mobile, so that they don’t leave for Eastern Europe. But, sure, if the company wasn’t mobile we wouldn’t be able to “attract” it to Ireland in the first place.

In the Mid West’s case, if the region has skilled manufacturing workers and the airport with the longest runway in the State and a regional development company, and a sea port, and all the same tax breaks as everywhere else, and a university, then it has more resources at its disposal than the South-East, just to take a comparison.

So when does it stop being a matter of waiting for central government to do even more? When is it simply up to the region to take what its been given, and make something of it?

Indeed, that kind of thing has already been done and, as you say, very easy to do politically.

The only problem is it doesn’t work. Dublin Airport’s runway was kept stunted in an attempt to drive business to Shannon. It just went to Manchester instead. Similarly, the main impact of the old Stopover regime was to make it economic to fly to Ireland via Heathrow.

Much as it pains me to say it, but I don’t think Galway has a shot as a development centre. Unless you are only talking about the East of the city where the transport links are. The lack of a ring road rules out the west side for an serious FDI, & that’s why all the IDA Ind Estates on the west side built in the 70s were a complete waste of money.

The other factor is that Galway is some kind of Mecca for every environmental, ‘let’s all live on nuts & berries’, nutcase. I’ve no problem with conservation & environmentalism, up to the point where it stops a city building a sewerage treatment plant for 15 years, just in case a few rats get displaced by the construction.

All the nut and berry eaters appear to be voting FF / FG
It must be the water out there

I’m not surprised he’s surprised. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t. It’s expected of him.