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Gilmore has a dream, but forgets all the details

EAMON Gilmore has a dream. But the Labour leader was again strong on rhetoric and far less specific on details yesterday.

The so-called 'Gilmore Gale' blew into Limerick on a cold and blustery day to reveal Martin Luther King is his political hero.

But while the famous civil rights leader spoke of his renowned dream almost 50 years ago, Mr Gilmore warned of a nightmare scenario that will devastate the country if the next government is unable to renegotiate the EU/IMF deal.

"It has to be renegotiating -- it's not an if. The deal has to be renegotiated because it's not going to work. The Irish economy has to be allowed to recover," Mr Gilmore said to a media scrum at Arthur's Quay.

With the historic centre of administration for a previous ruling class providing the backdrop -- King John's Castle -- the Labour leader warned that the deal would cripple the country's economy unless there was a successful renegotiation.

Limerick is one of the country's biggest employment blackspots and Gilmore spoke of the need to get young people back working as opposed to buying one-way airline tickets from Shannon Airport.


With candidates Jan O'Sullivan and Joe Leddin by his side Gilmore greeted all, including future voters bedecked in their school uniforms along Patrick Street and O'Connell Street.

As he attempted to assure people that the Labour Party would soothe worries about their future, he could not have missed the decay of the Celtic Tiger throughout Limerick.

The redundant block that was to house the 'Opera Centre' -- supposedly one of the country's biggest shopping complexes -- lies empty and is crumbling in the heart of a proud city.

'For Let' signs and empty business premises are located everywhere -- Limerick is greatly in need of more than dreamers.

With the assistance of local hero and former Irish and Munster rugby star Gerry McLoughlin, the Labour leader told all his party would tackle the EU/IMF to get a better result for all.

While refusing to reveal how he would achieve such an outcome, he instead warned of the repercussions if the status quo remains in place -- more taxes, more cuts in services and higher unemployment.

Gilmore even took time to take a swipe at local poll-topper Limerick TD Willie O'Dea in his own backyard.

He rejected O'Dea's notions Labour were caught up in "voodoo economics".

Gilmore quipped: "Willie would know more about voodoo than I would -- he has been engaging in a fair bit of it over the years."

On Cruises Street, he said that Martin Luther King was his favourite political idol. All very colourful, but still no budging on how Labour will renegotiate the bailout.

Then it was on to Newcastle West where he met James Heffernan and Arthur Spring -- Labour's candidates for the new constituencies of county Limerick and Kerry North/West Limerick.

The question now is can the 'Gilmore Gale' realise Labour Party dreams on February 25.

Irish Independent