Responding to Green Minister Eamon Ryan's admission that the roll out of the national broadband scheme will be further delayed Sinn Féin Communications Spokesperson Martin Ferris TD has described the news as 'devastating for Irish business."
Speaking from Leinster House Deputy Ferris said:
"Despite the massive difficulties facing Irish business in the current economic climate the government seems intent on driving us further into recession. Budget 2009 was an opportunity to turn around the economy yet Fianna Fail and the Greens have chosen to treat it as simply an exercise in balancing the books, and they have not even got that approach right.
"Sinn Féin in its pre budget submission called on the government to show vision for a new economic model. A model based on sound industries like R&D, exports and a thriving indigenous SME sector capable of delivering the revenue needed next year to revive the public finances.
"The government has failed spectacularly.
"Green Minister Eamon Ryan should hang his head in shame for stating in the Dáil that he 'hopes' that the broadband roll scheme will be completed by 2010, not 2009 as originally committed to. Irish business, particularly in rural Ireland cannot pay their costs or grow their potential on the Ministers 'hopes'. They need broadband and they need it yesterday.
"Ireland lags well behind it European partners with the highest costs and lowest speeds. We are the only country in Europe where more people used narrowband or dial-up than broadband. How can we as a state promote ourselves internationally as a knowledge-based economy if we don't have the most basic of tools to deliver such a market?
"We cannot afford such a shoddy approach to our economy." ENDS