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Rural Ireland will judge Government on broadband fiasco – Senator Rose Conway-Walsh

31 July, 2018 - by Rose Conway-Walsh

Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has urged the Government and to ensure that broadband provision for rural Ireland does not become another broken promise.

Speaking today, the Mayo Senator said:

"The entire process so far has been shambolic. SSE pulling out of the tendering process is just the latest setback. The current Fine Gael led Government is failing to help by allowing Eir to cherry-pick the easiest 300,000 out of the 870,000 households to be covered by the national broadband plan. This will mean many areas still not being covered.

"The reason that the entire process has broken down is because the Government has taken its eye off the ball. The lack of reliable access to high speed broadband in rural areas is the biggest obstacle to increased employment and economic activity in Mayo.

"People are at their wits end trying to function with a slow and unreliable internet access. This is a question of priorities and the failure to act on promises made.

"The Programme for Government promises access to broadband in every home across Ireland by 2020. The Programme for Government is a live document which should be fulfilled. It is simply not good enough to make promises at election time, followed by showcase announcements only for the situation to remain as bad as ever.

"It must be remembered that the selling of Eircom and the privatisation of the telecommunications network in this country by Fianna Fáil has resulted in the costly and delayed roll out of broadband services.

"I am calling on Minister Ring in his role as Minister for Community and Rural Affairs to use his influence at cabinet to ensure that the Government takes a more proactive role in the broadband rollout process.

"The current system has failed and if the Government do nothing to change it they are all but accepting that there will not be access to broadband by 2020. This is the time for honesty and action. If this Government are not going to act, then rural Ireland must have their voices heard."

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