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Limerick man contests election to fight against Fianna Fail 'cronyism'

Anne Sheridan - Limerick Leader
A LIMERICK man who alleged in court that Willie O'Dea grabbed him by the neck during a dispute over Shannon Airport three years ago has announced his intention to run in the general election.
Matt Larkin, 38, from Thomondgate, is running on an "anti-corruption and anti-cronyism" basis, citing that years of Fianna Fail in office have turned Ireland into a "borderline third world country."

"We need politics where people come first, not greed," he said.

Mr Larkin was one of a number of Independent candidates in the Limerick city constituency to submit their nomination for the 31st Dail at the 11th hour this Wednesday.

He said he doesn't know what his chances are in getting elected – having unsuccessfully contested the local elections two years ago - but he wants to stand "in protest against the cronyism that has ruined Ireland."

He will not be erecting any election posters, saying "the money isn't there to be wasted and if people want to vote for me, they'll vote for me."

If elected, he said he aims to rejuvenate the city centre.
"Limerick city from its foundation has never looked so bad. We've had five TDs in office, including two senior ministers in the last government and the city just doesn't reflect that, and the jobless figures in the city don't reflect that we've had proper representation," he said.

"The argument I had with Mr O'Dea that time was about Dell and Shannon Airport, and about protecting our livelihoods. From 2007 up to now we can see what the outcome of that is. What I said to him on the night has come through - people's homes are in jeopardy, and their jobs are gone. Limerick city as a whole has suffered because of it.

"The Government policy throughout the whole country has been a disaster. It was a case of the boys looking after each other and the bankers are walking away scot free. We're paying for the mistakes of a cronyism government, that should have been put out a long time ago. The Irish people as a whole have been forgotten about, " he said.

Mr Larkin recently spoke out about the court case involving Deputy O'Dea three years ago, claimed it has 'ruined his life' and he has not worked since.

He was convicted in September 2008 at Limerick District Court of knowingly making a false statement following an alleged incident at the Bank Bar on O'Connell Street on September 22nd, 2007.

He claimed that Mr O'Dea had punched him "three or four times" and that he had grabbed him by the throat as he and the then Minister were discussing the withdrawal of Aer Lingus services from Shannon Airport and the Corrib gas pipeline.

However, in March 2009 he won his appeal against the conviction for making a false statement to gardaí.