ianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Timmy Dooley has slammed Minister Naughten’s first 12 months in charge of his department saying that it has been a year of empty promises and little to no progress.

Deputy Dooley was commenting as Minister Naughten, like so many of his Government colleagues, attempted to claim credit for things that he has no control over.

“When asked what his biggest success to date has been, the Minister parroted the same line over and over again that the National Broadband Plan will deliver.

“What the Minister forgets to add that the roll out of broadband that’s currently ongoing is being done on a commercial basis by private business. The Department have nothing to do with it, and it’s telling that the Minister is attempting to claim credit for something he has really nothing to do with.

“For those who will require state support to ensure access to high speed broadband, Minister Naughten has failed them. 12 months in and the tender for delivering broadband in hard to reach, non-commercial locations, has not been issued.

“What we have heard to date from the Minister with regard to the post office network also fills me with deep concern.

“It sounds that the Minister’s big plan for out post offices is to turn them into glorified internet cafes. While internet cafes might have been in vogue in 2002, they cannot be the central plank of the Minister’s plan to safeguard the network in 2017.

“Every time the Minister speaks about the post office network, he waxes lyrical about the new services that he wants to bring to the post offices, but what are the new services that the Minister is talking about? It’s time the Minister stopped talking in vague terms and gives us details about his plans for the future.

“There are three simple questions that Minister Naughten can answer that will demonstrate his commitment to delivering on his promises:

  1. When does he intend to award the contract for the roll out of broadband to rural areas not covered by commercial operators?
  2. Will he name and identify the post offices that he believes are no longer viable and that he intends to close?
  3. Will he publish the list of additional services that he believes will make post offices at risk of closure viable into the future?

“Minister Naughten needs to start delivering on his promises and work harder to protect our post offices, and deliver broadband far quicker. Then and only then can he claim to have made progress in his portfolio,” concluded Dooley.