Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Timmy Dooley TD, has called on the Minister for Communications to clarify when he intends to bring proposals for the National Broadband Plan to cabinet. Deputy Dooley said that the people of rural Ireland in particular were disenfranchised and completely let down by the Governments failure to get the plan of off the ground.

Deputy Dooley explained, “In November of last year, the Minister for Communications indicated that he would bring a recommendation to cabinet on the National Broadband Plan within weeks. Fast forward five months and there is still no movement – it is deeply frustrating.

“Even the Taoiseach said that there could be a decision made on the plan before Easter and it was widely expected that Minister Bruton would finally bring a decision before cabinet tomorrow, but today he has confirmed that this will not happen. The Minister said the Cabinet would need ‘time and space’ to discuss the plan. How he can talk about ‘due diligence’ and patience when almost one million people were promised broadband over seven years ago is beyond me.

“I believe this is a disgraceful betrayal of the people who have been waiting for so long and who depend on this rollout. Hundreds of thousands of households and businesses in the country are waiting for the Minister and the Government to get their act together on this long overdue project.

“There is no doubt about it; the constant delays are having a tangible negative impact across Ireland. Farmers are required to complete more of their applications for schemes online – impossible if they don’t have broadband. Students are sitting in the local McDonalds or Town Centre to avail of the Wi-Fi there to complete their homework, and SME’s are unable to upgrade or expand their businesses online. It’s nothing short of a farce at this stage”, concluded Deputy Dooley.