13 May 2019
By Mary Bermingham
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said the government is “giving away the family silver” by pushing ahead with its nonsensical broadband plan.
Ms Ní Riada said:
“It is outrageous that this government intends to invest €3 billion of the people’s money in building a broadband network to then just hand it over to a private operator – a consortium that will reportedly inject only a paltry €200 million into the project.
“This scenario would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. We are getting a deal that is mind-blowingly bad for the public interest.
“The government must look at alternative options that keep the network in public ownership while delivering broadband to every home, farm, and business in rural Ireland.
“To my mind, the answer is blindingly obvious.
“The ESB should now be appointed to deliver the project. The company has the existing infrastructure of poles and cables covering every home in the state. The ESB also has a very strong record of delivering critical infrastructure projects.
“Rural Ireland has been waiting been waiting a long time for broadband. It is vital for the rural economy, rural education and rural living.
“The government has responsibility to get this right. The network must be affordable, sustainable, and able to deliver a high quality service.
“Gifting the infrastructure to private interests, who have very little skin in the game, flies directly in the face of these requirements.” ENDS