Deputy Jackie Cahill: broadband is essential for rural Ireland's survival
Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill has slammed Fine Gael’s complete mismanagement of the National Broadband Plan and has warned that access to a high-speed connection was now essential to the survival of rural communities.
Deputy Cahill raised the issue in the Dáil last week.
“Fine Gael has utterly failed to uphold any of the promises it made about rolling out broadband across the country. Not only are large parts of rural Ireland still waiting for a connection, the cost of the project has completely spiralled out of control. The overspend could be a much as €3bn, and there are still questions about the ownership of the assets after the 25-year period”, said Deputy Cahill.
The Thurles TD said that he was also concerned that this level of overspend would see capital projects around the country either severely delayed or shelved altogether.
He said that in Tipperary, there was a real fear that the project at St Patrick’s Hospital in Cashel would suffer as a result.
"It must be asked if the delay in providing acute mental health beds in Tipperary, which were promised by the Minister, is because of the massive project overspends," said Deputy Cahill.
“Let me be clear. High speed broadband should be provided to the intervention area as quickly as possible to the same standard as it is available commercially in other parts of the country at the same cost to consumers as elsewhere and at best value to the taxpayer," he said.
Deputy Cahill said that Fine Gael had pursued anti-rural policies over the past eight years and the broadband fiasco was the latest in a series of mismanaged projects.
"People living in rural areas are fed up of being overlooked in favour of Dublin and other urban centres," he said.
“The provision of high-speed broadband in rural communities, is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity for the survival of rural Ireland," said Deputy Cahill.