Counties such as Tipperary will suffer from this setback, says Jackie Cahill TD
Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill has hit out at both the government and Eir on the latest setback to the roll-olut of broadband to rural Ireland following Eir’s withdrawal from the bidding process.
Speaking in the Dail, the Fianna Fail TD highlighted the negative impact this would have on rural counties such as Tipperary
He argued that high speed broadband is critical for the development of rural Ireland, saying that it is the one service, that if put in place, puts a rural company on a level playing field with a city based competitor.
He continued – “It encourages employers to stay in rural areas and keep jobs in areas where they are badly needed. And this benefits the local shop, Post office and pub, thereby maintaining the fabric of rural Ireland.
Rural Ireland will not survive without it”.
Deputy Cahill said that as a country we offered access to Eir, through our local authorities, to the roads and footpaths of this country and given them access to the doorsteps of over 75% of the homes and business’
“We have given them an opportunity to make huge profits in the years ahead in the lucrative business of providing broadband in our economy”, he said.
And he added – “The chairman of Eir made a big play last week of how Eir had invested €200 million of their own money rolling out broadband to 300,000 homes and businesses in small towns and villages over the past 12 months.
“However he neglected to tell us that the retail value of providing broadband to these homes and businessed will see a healthy return on this investment within a couple of years”.
But he said that this wasn’t the first time FG in Government haver undervalued the assets of our country., highlighting the sale of Ireland’s mobile phone licence to Esat Digiphone
”But again on this occasion big business, in the shape of Eir, were allowed to cherry pick the most lucrative areas in the country and strung along the Government with promises of tendering for the less profitable rural areas
But when they had what they wanted they were out the door like a scalded cat, citing commercial, regulatory and governance issues.
“The Taoiseach and Government must answer as to why Eir were allowed to proceed over the past 3 to 4 years without being tied into commitments for rural Ireland.
Was it naivety on behalf of the Minister in negotiating with a powerful company like Eir?
Or was it a case of the Government not being up to the job? All these questions will have to be answered.
However the frustrating thing is that it didn’t have to end up like this. This could have been a fair deal for both Eir and our economy. Eir could have negotiated a profitable deal for their company as was their right and responsibility to their shareholders
“Equally it was the responsibility of this Government to negotiate a fair deal for its shareholders, the ordinary men and women of this country. But by any measure the Government has come up short
“And either through lack of ability or carelessness the Irish people were short changed once again”.