Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has accused the Taoiseach of dismissing alternatives for delivering rural broadband in a way that is cost-effective and ensures certainty of delivery.
Ms McDonald announced yesterday that Sinn Féin will bring forward a Dáil motion appointing the ESB to deliver high-speed broadband to every home, farm and business in rural Ireland. A move the Taoiseach shrugged off as a stunt.
The Sinn Féin President said:
“The only stunt being played here is the one the government pulled this week. Following sustained neglect of rural Ireland, in the mouth of an election, Fine Gael approved a National Broadband Plan which is flawed, compromised and high-risk.
“This is not just Sinn Féin’s view; the risks involved in this plan were conveyed to the government in the most forthright way by senior officials in documents released this week.
“The Government has refused to say what level of investment will be made by the consortium. It appears that the bidder has very little skin in the game and could walk away at any time leaving rural Ireland without any certainty of delivery.
“There are alternatives which the Taoiseach appears to have already dismissed out of hand. Nonetheless Sinn Féin will move a motion in the Dáil which calls for the appointment of ESB to deliver high speed broadband to every home, farm and business in rural Ireland.
“This would ensure the infrastructure stays in public ownership, it would deliver value for money and, crucially, it would finally deliver high quality broadband for rural communities.
“All parties who are interested in providing this public service to homes and businesses in a way that is fiscally responsible should support this motion.”