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Broadband comments show Taoiseach is 'out of touch' with rural Ireland – Senator Conway-Walsh

28 March, 2019 - by Rose Conway-Walsh

Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has said that there was very little hope or confidence for people living in rural Ireland to take from the Taoiseach’s address to the Fine Gael conference at the weekend.

Speaking after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar referred to ongoing problems with broadband access and proposed increases in carbon taxes.
"At the time of the latest debacle around the National Broadband Plan, the Taoiseach said that the issue was now a personal crusade for him.

"Over the weekend, there was very little sign that he has taken an interest in the issue or that the Government has any new ideas or initiatives on how to deliver the project.

"Sinn Féin has always said we must at least examine using the ESB and existing infrastructure associated with it to deliver high speed broadband.

"The Taoiseach dismissed this out of hand. He also added that high speed fibre broadband cannot be delivered through poles.

"This is factually incorrect as it is already happening with Eir delivering a service in many places via poles.

"That is not good enough. You cannot rubbish a solution without offering an alternative.

"The Taoiseach offered no guarantee that carbon taxes will not be imposed on hard pressed working families.

"Only yesterday my Sinn Féin colleague Pearse Doherty revealed that VAT will be charged on any increase in carbon taxes, meaning that families will be effectively double taxed.

"At the moment an increase in the carbon tax could cost individuals and families up to €1000 extra per year.

"Instead of taxing large corporations, who are the major polluters, Fine Gael would rather tax families twice.

This is placing a huge amount of worry on those in rural Ireland who will see heating, transport and business costs rise because Fine Gael find it easier to tax them than take on big corporations."

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