Carthy rejects Taoiseach’s excuse for further broadband delays
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has labelled comments by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that suggest Brexit is a reason to delay delivery of rural broadband as an insult to the people of rural Ireland.
Speaking from Brussels, Carthy, a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, said: “In recent weeks, it has become clear that the failure of the plan falls firmly at the feet of the Irish government. Why should the people of Ireland have to suffer because the government allowed the costs for the plan to skyrocket to a six-fold increase?
“It is beyond belief that instead of taking responsibly and implementing the necessary steps to ensure a speedy delivery, the Irish government has chosen the path of excuses and diversion.
“To try to avert attention away from the government and blame the beef farmers for possibly needing a bailout is shameful. These are two separate issues and neither of them are caused by the people of rural Ireland, which includes around 80,000 beef farmers.
“The Taoiseach has pushed back any progress until April and has given no indication of what happens in the event beef farmers need to be aided. Will a no-deal Brexit mean rural Ireland has to wait another year or longer for reliable broadband?
“This is another shocking example of the Irish public being expected to pick up the tab for systemic government incompetence. Over half a million people are waiting a long time for this fiasco to be corrected and for them An Taoiseach’s latest comments offer no light at the end of the tunnel.
“This crisis could have been easily avoided if the government delivered the service through a state-funded scheme, instead of allowing the involvement of private investors, costing the taxpayer more than €2 billion. If the Taoiseach wants to make any link between the broadband scheme and Brexit, it should be in the context of assessing the gravity of the government’s failure. In a critical time when aid may be required to vulnerable Irish sectors, he has overseen the squandering of billions of euro.
“Sinn Féin will continue to hold the government to account on this issue. Whatever the outcome of Brexit, rural Ireland cannot be the casualty”. ENDS