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Broadband plan a cynical political stunt at expense of rural communities - Mary Lou McDonald

8 May, 2019 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has criticised the government’s approval of the Broadband Plan describing it as a “cynical political stunt at the expense of rural communities”.

Ms McDonald said:

 “There is no question that rural Ireland needs access to high speed broadband but the documents released today show clearly the flawed nature of the government’s plan.

“This government has overseen economic stagnation in rural towns, closure of post offices and Garda stations and abandonment of communities. Rural Ireland has suffered decades of under-investment and neglect.

“Now at the eleventh hour, in the mouth of an election, Fine Gael has pulled what can only be described as a cynical political stunt, ignoring the advice of the department for electoral gain.

“Serious questions remain unanswered. While we know that taxpayers will be liable for €3billion for this project, it remains unclear what level of investment will be made by McGranahan McCourt Capital. 

“Indeed the government has refused to release this information. The redacted nature of the documents would suggest that the consortium have very little skin in the game and could walk away at any time.

“The documents also show the increased costs of delivering this project could affect the delivery of homes, roads, schools, water schemes, primary care centres and flood relief schemes across the state.

“Clearly this is a flawed, compromised, and high-risk plan.

“The best-case scenario is that the government is giving to rural Ireland with one hand and taking with the other. 

“The worst-case scenario is the government is pumping €3 billion of taxpayers’ money into a black hole and rural communities will still not have access to the broadband that has long been promised to them.”

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