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Carthy slams delay for National Broadband Plan

27 April, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West and member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Matt Carthy, has said that reports that the National Broadband plan has been delayed and that the Government will not sign a contract until at least next year are completely unacceptable. Carthy has called on the Minister for Communications to take immediate steps to resolve the issue.

Carthy said:

“It is completely unacceptable that the Government has pushed back the timeline for the long-awaited national broadband network after confirming that the contract with the winning tender of the procurement process will not be signed until at least next year.

“Further to that, reports suggest that it could take between three and five years for the installation of the network, meaning that a potential completion date could be delayed until as late as 2022.

“This piece of infrastructure is vital for the development of rural economies to develop SMEs and attract investment and this announcement will come as a huge blow to the communities affected.

“It is galling that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael pay lip service to the very real concerns of rural dwellers yet, when push comes to shove, are content to stand over the delay of this plan.

“It is clear that the two parties that have stood over the decades of neglect of rural Ireland have learned nothing. “They are leading the people on a merry dance – the National Broadband Plan was initially announced in 2012 with a completion date of 2018.

“The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has serious questions to answer on this issue and I am calling on him to immediately issue a statement clarifying the reasons for this delay and to outline the steps his Department propose to take to ensure this project goes ahead promptly.”

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