Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Timmy Dooley TD has said that it’s time for the Taoiseach to intervene and bring clarity to the roll out of the National Broadband Plan.

“We have had months on end of Minister Naughten fudging answers on when the NBP contract would be signed, when works would begin and when every single one of the 540,000 people under the Plan would be connected to high speed, quality broadband.

“Minister Naughten clearly doesn’t want to deal with this issue, so I am calling on the Taoiseach to set the record straight and let the people know where they stand.

“What they need to hear from the Taoiseach is when he expects the contract to be signed with the preferred bidder, when he expects works to commence and when he expects the Plan to be delivered in full. It’s not that much to ask on such a critically important national project.

“I, along with many of TDs, have consistently questioned Minister Naughten on these simple questions for well over a year, and we have been met with silence on all counts.

“The Government’s own Programme for Government set a target of June 2017 for the awarding of the tender with a commitment to ‘to accelerate the roll out of the infrastructure next year [2017].’

“Clearly this commitment has been dropped by the Government which isn’t surprising as every other target; goal or promise to the people of rural Ireland on broadband delivery has been missed. The original National Broadband Plan was due to be completed by 2016 so a failure to deliver isn’t new when it comes to this government.

“The Taoiseach prides himself on, and makes a virtue of, his reputation as a straight talker. Here is a perfect opportunity for the Taoiseach to be honest with the people of rural Ireland,” concluded Dooley.