Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Environment and Climate Change, Timmy Dooley TD has said that Minister Naughten must spell out how he proposes to spend the €100 million allocated in Budget 2017 for energy projects.

“The Minister says that 116,000 tonnes in carbon emissions will be saved every year and that it would support around 3,000 jobs, but we need to see the details behind these plans.”

“The public have long gotten fed up of Ministers making announcements without anything to back them up. We need detailed plans. €100 million is a significant amount of money, and we need to be confident that it will be money well spent,” added Dooley.

“The same has been happening with the National Broadband Plan for years – loads of spin and multiple announcements, but virtually no delivery.”

“I note an additional €5 million has been allocated towards the tendering process in 2017, but will this have any impact on clawing back the delays that have dogged the process?

“The current guess is that the rural broadband scheme might be rolled out by 2023, but who really knows? It has been delay, after delay, after delay with both this and the previous Fine Gael led Government when it comes to broadband connectivity.

“It seems to me that the only thing the Department of Communications is confident about when it comes to broadband is that it’s a good idea. After that, it’s been a catalogue of delays, announcements, re-announcements and even more delays.

“Minister Naughten has an important to job to do. Communities in rural Ireland need decent broadband services. Irish farmers, businesses and families need support to reduce their dependency on fossil fuels but the Minister must spell out his plans in detail,” concluded Dooley.