Fine Gael has failed to deliver the hard cash needed to roll out the National Broadband Plan in Wicklow

  • More than 17,000 premises in Wicklow still waiting for broadband rollout –
  • Minister’s Resignation caused by Taoiseach obsessed with spin-

“Fine Gael’s lazy attitude to rural Wicklow has been laid bare for all to see with the latest disaster to befall the National Broadband Plan and the resignation of Minister Denis Naughten,” says Fianna Fáil’s Wicklow TD Pat Casey.

“At every stage where progress was due, Fine Gael’s Government deflected from their abject failure. With SSE withdrawing from the e-Net bid, it’s crystal clear that none of the companies capable of delivering the Plan can see an avenue towards a decent financial return. The resignation announced suddenly and totally unexpectedly today of Minister Denis Naughten seems to have been the decision of the Taoiseach and now makes the Broadband saga a total disaster.”

“Time and time again, Fine Gael and their partners in government, whoever they may be, have failed to deliver the hard cash needed to roll out of the National Broadband Plan. In fact, I would argue that the drawn-out and convoluted tender process has been used by Fine Gael to disguise their incompetence and over reliance on spin, spin, and more spin.”

“It’s therefore no surprise that the Taoiseach and his senior lieutenants have sought to bump the country into an early general election – they want to make the same promise to deliver rural broadband to the Irish people as they did in the last two general elections. Fine Gael and their independent colleagues have been caught out once again. They are quite happy to treat rural Wicklow quite differently to their South Dublin heartlands.”

“The wheels have come off the entire National Broadband Plan. Since Fine Gael took office again in 2016, every façade of the Plan has been diminished and downgraded, and any opportunity to reduce the State’s involvement has been taken.

Questions are now needed to be answered

  1. When will the contract be signed?
  2. When will the first homes be connected?
  3. Over how many years will it take to connect the over 17,000 households and businesses in Wicklow alone?

“On a personal level I feel sorry for Minister Naughten and they shabby way he has been treated. He is an honourable and hard working member of the Dáil and his integrity was never in question.,” concluded Casey.”

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