Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has slammed the government for squandering of billions on euro on the National Broadband Plan, and labelled Fianna Fáil as being “complicit” in the debacle.
Carthy, EU candidate for Midlands North West, said:
“This government’s mismanagement of the provision of a vital infrastructure for rural Ireland once again exposes Fine Gael’s utter disregard for people living in rural areas.
“The revelation in recent days that taxpayers will pay up to €3 billion, while private equity fund Granahan McCourt will invest just €200 million and at the end of the project will own the infrastructure, is absolutely scandalous.
“The result is that billions of euros of taxpayer funded infrastructure will be handed over to a private bidder – and that this company could walk at any moment with little to lose. The risks involved in this plan were pointed out to the government in by its own senior officials.
“That the Taoiseach has dismissed Sinn Féin’s cost-effective alternative proposal – a Dáil motion that calls for the appointment of ESB to deliver high-speed broadband to every home, farm and business in rural Ireland – adds insult to injury.
“This situation could have been easily avoided if the government delivered the service through a state-funded scheme. Despite its criticism of the National Broadband Plan, Fianna Fáil is complicit in this farce by continuing to prop up this government.
“Sinn Féin’s alternative plan would ensure the infrastructure paid for by the public stays in public hands. It would deliver value for money and, crucially, it would deliver high quality broadband for the half a million households in rural communities who are still without it – after years of neglect.
“We need to intervene now to stop this mess from getting worse. Fianna Fáil needs to support Sinn Féin’s motion to appoint the ESB to deliver broadband to rural communities. Anything else would be pure hypocrisy, and a betrayal of rural Ireland.”