20 November 2019
By Bryan Smyth
Cork North West Fine Gael General Election candidate Councillor John Paul O’Shea has announced that Government is to invest €314 million to deliver high-speed broadband to Cork.
Cllr. O’Shea was speaking as the Government announced the biggest initiative for rural Ireland since electrification.
“This is a landmark day for Cork and for rural Ireland generally. The Government has today signed a contract for the National Broadband Plan, which will see investment of €314 million to bring high-speed broadband to 78,695 homes across Cork.”
The National Broadband Plan is the Government’s plan to rollout high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises nationally, including 100,000 businesses and farms, and over 600 schools, where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service.
Cllr. O’Shea continued: “The work will start immediately, with roll-out of broadband within eight weeks of today’s contract signing. Over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within four years.
“Quite simply this means rural communities in Cork will not be left behind. All of rural Ireland will get the same access to opportunities offered by high-speed broadband as those in urban areas.
“Fine Gael is delivering on transforming the country for the better and providing more opportunities to all. We have prioritised rural broadband as others, including Fianna Fáil, did everything they could to attempt to derail the plan in a bid to score political points.
“Unlike Fianna Fáil and others, Fine Gael is working to ensure rural Ireland is to the fore of the country’s progression and development. Whereas we have a plan for the country, opposition and critics like Fianna Fáil provide only obstacles. They have no plan, no solutions and no policies for broadband for Ireland.
“As an initial step, the Government has published a list of approximately 300 community centres, schools, library hubs and local GAA halls in every county that will be connected to high speed broadband during 2020, to enable communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband.
“In Cork the locations are:
Aghabullogue Community Centre, Dromatimore, Aghabullogue, Co. Cork, P12CD51
An Sanctóir, Bawnaknockane, Ballydehob, Co. Cork, P81XF34
Aubane Community Centre, Aubane, Millstreet, Co. Cork, P51EP49
Ballindangan Community Centre, Ballindangan, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, P67W562
Ballycroneen National School, Ballycroneen, Cloyne, Co. Cork, P25TK38
Ballydaly Community Hall, Ballydaly, Rathmore, Co. Cork, P51DP95
Bere Island Heritage Centre, Derrycreeveen, Bere Island, Co. Cork, P75W660
Castletownkenneigh Community Centre, Castletownkenneigh, Enniskeane, Co. Cork, P47YR96
Clogagh Community Hall, Clogagh North, Timoleague, Co. Cork, P72KF65
Clogagh National School, Clogagh, Timoleague, Co. Cork, P72EP38
Coláiste Phobal Cléire, Croha West, Cape Clear, Co. Cork, P81P627
Courtbrack Community Centre, Courtbrack, Blarney, Co. Cork, T23NH22
Dromclogh Community Hall, Dromclogh East, Bantry, Co. Cork, P75K253
Gaggin Community Hall, Gaggin, Bandon, Co. Cork, P72DP38
Glash Community Centre, Glash Bridge, Newmarket, Co. Cork, P51W024
Gortroe Community Hall, Gortroe, Youghal, Co. Cork, P36R520
Inch Community Centre, Inch, Killeagh, Co. Cork, P36RC43
Laharn Heritage Centre, Glounminane, Lombardstown, Co. Cork, P51FK44
Lisavaird Community Centre, Tullineasky West, Clonakilty, Co. Cork, P85W840
Sherkin Island Community Hall, Gneeves, Sherkin Island, Co. Cork, P81AE02
Shrala Community Centre, Knockanevin, Kilmallock, Co. Cork, V35Y313
T.O. Park Labbamollaga, Labbamollaga, Knockanevin, Kilmallock, Co. Cork, V35E895
“The ultimate goal here is to deliver high-speed broadband to homes and businesses all across the country. The delivery of high-speed broadband will be hugely beneficial to economic development and job creation in Cork. It will open up a whole range of possibilities including: flexible and remote working; smart health with online GP and nursing services and medical monitoring; cloud-based services and connected devices; smart farming opportunities; digital learning; and reliable electronic payments and bookings for businesses.
“We want to ensure that people who wish to live and work in Cork are supported in doing so. It is so crucial for balanced regional development that everyone in the country does not have to go to Dublin to work, study or start an enterprise.
“Today’s announcement by my Fine Gael colleague the Minister for Communications, Richard Bruton, is quite simply the biggest investment in rural Ireland since rural electrification”, Cllr. O’Shea concluded.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “Some people try to divide our country – urban v rural, east coast v west coast, Dublin v the rest of the country. The Government is all about bringing Ireland closer together, ensuring that all parts of the country benefit from our prosperity. That requires investment in roads, broadband, higher education and enterprise and it’s happening.
“This contract means that every home, school, farm and business in Ireland will get access to high speed broadband. No part of the country will be left behind in securing the jobs and opportunities of the future. And as we know, the future is already here in our daily lives with online access offering ever more opportunities for living and working.
“Broadband will be the biggest investment in Rural Ireland ever. We can have more people working from home, a better work-life balance, fewer car journeys, and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. We can connect better with the world, with family members, with business, with new ideas and new ways of doing things. Every school in the country, like this one I’m standing in today, will be able to access digital technologies for teaching, while healthcare professionals can check in and monitor patients remotely no matter where they are based.”
Minister Bruton said: “Today is a historic day for rural Ireland. By guaranteeing high speed broadband for every home, business and farm in the country, we are ensuring no one is left behind. This will have a transformative impact on rural Ireland, opening up opportunities in enterprise, health, smart farming to name a few – high speed broadband is increasingly becoming a vital utility and today the government is securing access for every person in the country.
“Without high speed broadband it will be significantly more difficult to attract new jobs to rural areas and develop new enterprise opportunities and it will be more difficult to retain the jobs that currently exist in these areas. With high speed broadband, we can ensure that people in rural Ireland are able to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented by the digital economy, from health care to farming, and from education to agriculture, rural development and tourism. We will not leave rural Ireland and one quarter of our country behind.”