Broadband Community Local Issues Press Releases Rural Ireland

“Broadband approval must benefit rural Ireland not governments short term election plan,” Mattie McGrath

“Broadband approval must benefit rural Ireland not governments short term election plan,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has given a cautious welcomed to reports that Cabinet will give the go-ahead for the roll-out of the National Broadband Plan (NBP). Deputy McGrath was speaking after it was first reported in the Irish Times, that government will approve the NBP in the coming two week despite massive concerns at the estimated cost; around €3 billion:

“From what we are hearing today it looks like the main motivation for the Cabinet and government to give the go-ahead to the NBP is political rather than community driven.

Indeed they are right to fear a massive backlash on this issue which has plagued rural Ireland for a decade and more now. But that is what accountability to the people looks like.

Despite this, Cabinet must take note of the likely budgetary impact this will have on other areas of rural development.

The estimated cost of the government’s broadband plan is around €3 billion at present. That is almost 14 times the entire allocation rural Ireland will get from European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development in 2019; which comes in at €220 million.

What is even more troubling is the fact that despite this cost, the state will still not have ownership of the broadband infrastructure after we pay for it.

Rural Ireland has a clear and unequivocal right to better broadband. I have always fully supported that option.

Questions remain however around how this will ultimately impact the delivery of all other rural programmes and schemes and whether their budgets will be slashed to pay for what has essentially been yet another epically disastrous procurement process conducted by this government,” concluded McGrath.


Broadband Community

“Latest National Broadband farce caps 14 years of unfulfilled promises,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described the latest setback to the rollout of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) as a devastating blow to the prospects of economic rejuvenation in rural Ireland. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the UK utility company, SSE, withdrew from the NBP tendering process; a move which has cast significant doubt on the viability of the entire project:

“If we had broadband speed at the same pace as the rate at which promises around the NBP came out of government we would have had the problem solved years ago.

However, given that we have talking about it since then Minister Dermot Ahearn’s time in 2004, it is clear that political credibility is now at a premium.

As things stand the entire project seems to be collapsing faster than the government can spin about it.

This latest move by SSE has effectively taken a hammer to the expectations of hundreds of thousands of homes, businesses and schools in rural Ireland.

Without fast and efficient broadband speed, this government is ensuring that rural Ireland will be condemned to exist and operate in a two tier economy where the very capacity to do simple commercial or everyday tasks will be seriously hampered.

If we take a further step back and see this in the context of the challenges that Brexit is going to bring for the agri-sector and other aspects of the rural economy, then the size of the problem truly comes into scale.

On the one hand it feels as if rural Ireland is being threatened by the future fallout from a stagnant and chaotic political situation in the UK, while on the other hand its capacity to bounce back is being undermined by the utter failure of our own government to get a grip on the delivery of the NBP.

Without an effective resolution to this latest crisis it seems almost certain that yet another 14 years will pass before the delivery of broadband services to homes in rural Ireland will occur,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Broadband Community Rural Ireland Uncategorized

“Confidence in the National Broadband Plan has suffered a potentially fatal hit,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Communications Denis Naughten to facilitate an immediate all party Oireachtas briefing following the withdrawal of eir from the National Broadband Plan (NBP) Procurement Process. Deputy McGrath went on to say that the people and businesses of rural Ireland are at their wits end due to the seeming endless series of delays to the ill-fated project:

“Every day of the week my office hears from families, schools, businesses, entrepreneurs and local representatives about the scandalously poor quality of our broadband provision.

It is absolutely unimaginable that the near non-existent and intermittent service would be tolerated in Dublin or anywhere else outside rural Ireland.

I genuinely do not think that there is sufficient awareness in government of the scale of the problems this creating not only a daily level, but also in terms of trying to progress regional and industrial development.

What business is going to locate in an area that cannot access even basic services like a decent speed broadband system.

The withdrawal of eir has clearly highlighted fundamental and systemic obstacles that this government is doing nothing to address.

The Minister needs to urgently clarify just what is going on because at present people are sick to the back teeth of these delays,” concluded Deputy McGrath.