Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Science, Technology, Research and Development, James Lawless TD has said the Government’s silence on what role communications giant Huawei will take in the rollout of 5G and in the National Broadband Plan is worrisome.

Deputy Lawless was commenting on reports that most of Europe’s roughly 200 operators of mobile networks use Huawei’s 4G technology and said, “Industry insiders have warned that it would be hugely complex and costly to ban Huawei completely given that its technology is already in place across the EU and indeed here in Ireland.

“Let me be very clear, I am not calling for a ban on Huawei technology but I am asking the Government to wake up to the fact there is genuine concerns from countries across the world about potential interference and spying threats from China via Huawei technology.

“The US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia have all asked the pertinent questions and they are taking actions to protect their national telecoms network. Some have taken the step of banning their operators from using Huawei technology. Given the centrality of US corporations in our business community it is a message we need to pay attention to.

“The Irish Government continues to be behind the curve and despite raising this issue on a number of occasions; they haven’t ever indicated to me that this is an issue which is on their radar. Without a doubt, this has the potential to impact our attractiveness as a destination for Foreign Direct Investment.

“I have been contacted privately by senior sources in the telecoms and IT industry.  They have warned me that companies in their sector are becoming increasingly concerned about Huawei and that they will refuse to work on networks which may potentially be compromised.

“The Government needs to understand that they have to deal with this issue head on, that they can’t shy away from it as it will have long term ramifications”, concluded Deputy Lawless.