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EU state aid ruling scuppers plans for Dublin free Wi-Fi project - McDonald

9 January, 2008


Responding to Dublin City Council management’s decision to cancel plans for a free Wi-Fi service for the city due to an EU ruling limiting government involvement in the supply of broadband Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has said the decision is another example of EU policy making negatively impacting on member states national interests.  


The Dublin MEP said:


“Whilst the decision by Dublin City Council has also been determined by the experience of similar projects in the US the over riding factor does appear to be last years EU ruling on state aid.


“Sinn Féin accepts that member states economies must be competitive. However this competitiveness must not be secured at the cost of social cohesion or the delivery of critical infrastructure.


“Unfortunately this is precisely the direction of current EU economic policy, advancing the agenda of deregulation, privatisation and low public spending. This has a massively negative impact on member states obligations to provide the necessary domestic services and infrastructure to ensure accessibility and connectivity for businesses and communities. 


“The city wide Wi-Fi project had the potential to bridge the digital divide in working class areas and also for small enterprises throughout the city. It could have been an invaluable contribution to halting the growing inequality in our city. As a project it contained the vision and aspirations that local government can and should be about.


“City Council’s decision is yet another example of the type of policy’s that ratifying the Lisbon Treaty will accelerate. The Lisbon Treaty seeks to promote an economic agenda where the market is king and the needs of ordinary people do not even factor into the equation.” CRÍOCH


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