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By | Joe Fay 25th March 2009 12:03

Dell retreat from Limerick will leave 9,500 casualties

Secret government report details the cost

Dell's axing of 2,510 jobs at its Limerick plant will cost the region 9,500 jobs and suck €117m out of the local economy, a secret Irish government report admits.

The report, which was prepared for the government last December but which has just emerged in the Irish press, details just how devastating the effective closure of the country's biggest exporter will be.

While the plant itself is losing 2,510 jobs, mainly to Poland, the knock on effect is that 9,500 jobs will be lost in the mid-west region of Ireland, as suppliers are forced to share in the pain.

At the same time, the evaporation of Dell wages will see €117m of disposable income disappear from the local economy, having a dramatic effect on other businesses in the area.

The Irish government will also feel the pain, kissing goodbye to around €173m in tax and social insurance contributions.

Irish government sources were keeping silent on the report, but Labour Deputy Jan O'Sullivan described the impact as "a realistic figure, unfortunately." She also accused the government of spin in keeping the report quiet up until now.

Dell's withdrawal from Limerick is just the most visible effect of the global slowdown on the crumpling Irish economy. The country's economic boom has ground to a halt as its status as a high skill, low wage economy has been eclipsed by newer EU members further east, and as its accompanying construction boom collapses.

One joke doing the rounds right now says that the churches are packed for the first time in years. Not because people are praying for redemption or even a big EU grant, but because they're the only places that aren't charging right now.

In the meantime, the Irish government has chosen to grapple with the economic apocalypse facing the Republic by demanding an apology from the state broadcaster over its reporting of a spate of hoax nude paintings of Taioseach Brian Cowen which have appeared in galleries in Dublin. ®

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