Taskforce 'a waste of time' without Government action


THE HEAD of a Government taskforce charged with overseeing economic development in the midwest has warned that the next stage of its work will be a “waste of time” unless recommendations published in an interim report four months ago are implemented.

Denis Brosnan, chairman of the Midwest Regional Taskforce, made his comments at the launch of Limerick City Adult Education Service’s strategic framework and website.

Mr Brosnan, a former chief executive of Kerry Group, was appointed to head up the new taskforce established following the decision by Limerick’s largest employer, Dell, to reduce its workforce by 2,000.

In the interim report Mr Brosnan warned that unemployment could reach 55,000 in the midwest region by the end of the year. He called on Government to tackle costs, accelerate the regeneration project in Limerick and to improve back-to-education allowance schemes.

“We produced the interim report in June and it has gone to various Government departments, but we know, in fact, that no action has been taken on it for whatever reason. Four months have gone by and we would like to see some action taken,” he said.

“The midwest is having a horrific time between jobs losses and probably the worst tourist season we have had for decades. All the figures . . . show that it is worse here than in the rest of the country . . . I think in fact it is even going to get worse still.”

According to Mr Brosnan members of the taskforce have met a number of times since the publication of the interim report in an effort to come up with initiatives which would see the recommendations implemented.

“We are shortly about to embark on stage two of our taskforce work but we must in fact find the button or the key by which we can get a lot of stage one implemented because otherwise, stage two and what we might recommend would be a waste of time,” he said.

Mr Brosnan said the taskforce is still committed to its work in the midwest region.

“We did ask for a lot of money to be put behind education, but as you know money gets taken away from education rather than money being put back into it. But we won’t go away, we will do our best and try and make this region a better place to live,” he said.