Catherine Murphy TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, today called on the Government not to proceed with the proposed signing of the contract for the National Broadband Plan.

She said “the National Broadband Plan carries an unprecedented risk for the State where the government will hand over a huge amount of public funding, following a flawed process, to a private company for an asset that the State won’t own, with no guarantees in regard to value for money.

“Signing the contract could put the State in financial jeopardy. It is essential that the Dáil get to see the precise detail of what the Government is signing up to, and vote on it, prior to the Government giving away so much of the public money for what seems to be so little in the long term.

“How can the Government, on behalf of taxpayers, heavily subsidise infrastructure only to hand it over to private entity, who’s only concern will be profit margins. What will the eventual cost be to those who need broadband? To the State in subsidies?

“The Broadband network is a vital national asset that will underpin our economy for the future. It is imperative that all people and businesses have access to reliable, high-speed broadband. But when the UK and Australia talk about re-nationalising their broadband networks in order to ensure that it is a public good accessible by everyone, surely it’s time to shout stop, and assess how we go about it properly here in Ireland.

ENDS

18th November 2019