Broadband Tender answers ‘raise more questions for Department of Communications’ – Cullinane
Sinn Féin TD and member of the Public Accounts Committee David Cullinane said today that the Department of Communications has more questions to answer in relation to its handling of the broadband tender process, despite its appearance before the Committee this morning.
The Waterford TD said:
“The Secretary General of the Department of Communications was before the PAC to answer questions on the broadband tender process.
“In politics, public perception is a key dynamic when it comes to public contracts.
“I put it to the Secretary General that the Minister Naughten’s engagements with David McCourt, the chairman of Granahan McCourt, a key bidder for the national broadband plan contract, did not look good.
“In response, he accepted that it would have been better for former Minister Naughten to have had officials with him.
“He also confirmed that the removal of around 300,000 households from the original tender changed the dynamic of the tender itself.
“It would appear that the decision to do so seriously compromised the viability of the project, I would add possibly fatally.
“Rural Ireland has suffered as a result – with significant consequences in terms of investment, growth, and viability.
“We need, therefore, to get to the heart of the decision to change the tender in 2016 and why it was taken.
“The PAC needs to do its job. It needs to investigate the tendering process and I hope this becomes a key part of the Committee’s work in the New Year.
“Public oversight demands that we do so.”