“We have to ensure that the process of awarding the contract is totally beyond reproach. There is no point in going ahead with a process if, when the infrastructure is finally in place, an average household cannot afford to connect to the network.”

The Social Democrats today introduce a Dáil motion calling for a Government commitment that any National Broadband Plan roll-out will prioritise affordability for homes and businesses in rural Ireland.

The motion also seeks an assurance from the Minister that both he and his Department have satisfied themselves as to the ability of the sole remaining bidder to remain viable in its current format, whilst guaranteeing delivery of the project into the long-term.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s Dáil debate on the motion, party co-leader Catherine Murphy TD said:

“People in rural Ireland are desperate for reliable and sustainable broadband but they will only be guaranteed such a service if we get the National Broadband contract award process right while we have this chance.

“We have to ensure that the process of awarding the contract is totally beyond reproach. There is no point in going ahead with a process if, when the infrastructure is finally in place, an average household cannot afford to connect to the network.”

Deputy Murphy said the public must be assured that an important decision is not just being taken on the basis that we are too far into a flawed process to turn back and get it right. She added:

“The problems we are now witnessing with the National Children’s Hospital for example are not the result of something that happened after the project began. They are the result of a laissez-faire approach to the original tendering and contract process.”

Please read the full motion here

ENDS

22nd January 2019