Potential collapse of National Broadband Plan on the cards following Eir’s withdrawal – Smith

– Rural communities now doubting if broadband will ever be delivered –
– Ability of FG to deliver on national development projects has to be questioned –

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has said that the ability of the Government to deliver large national infrastructural projects is in serious doubt following Eir’s announcement that it is withdrawing from the bidding process for the National Broadband Plan.

Deputy Smith commented, “The decision by Eir to withdraw from the NBP represents a damning indictment of Fine Gael in office. Rural communities across Cavan, Monaghan and further afield have been kept waiting for the roll out of high speed broadband by this government.  Figures released to my party last month revealed that it would be another 5 years before rural homes and businesses would have access to a high-speed broadband connection.

“Following yesterday’s announcement, the 2023 date is in serious doubt, and I have genuine concerns about the future of the rollout of the plan as a whole.  I get the sense that the Government isn’t really serious about rural communities in Cavan and Monaghan or anywhere else.

“Broadband is not a luxury for schools, families, businesses and farmers – it’s an absolute necessity. If it is not delivered soon, the benefits may be lost for ever as investment will not flow to rural and regional Ireland.

“Successive Government Ministers have failed miserably to bring this crucial national project to completion.

“I am sad to say that I have serious doubts about when, if ever, it will be delivered. It represents to me one of the greatest government failures in living memory, and demonstrates that when it comes to thinking big and delivering for rural Ireland, Fine Gael always fall short,” concluded Deputy Smith.