Deputy Denis Naughten has welcomed the findings of the independent audit report by Mr. Peter Smyth which concludef that the former Communications Minister did not 'influence or seek to influence' the conduct of the tender process in favour of Granahan McCourt and further concluded that the process has not been ‘tainted’.
"I welcome the conclusion of Mr. Smyth’s report not only for myself but for the 1.2 million people in rural Ireland waiting to be connected to high speed broadband.
"I would now earnestly ask that the Government and all members of Dáil Éireann carry through on the significant body of work that I completed during my time as Communications Minister to ensure that every home and business in Ireland gains access to high speed broadband without any further delay.
"It should be noted that Mr Smyth also concludes that the ‘communications protocol for the procurement process for the State-led intervention under the national broadband plan (NBP ) does not expressly prohibit engagements between the bidders (or individual members of a bidding consortium ) and the Department," Deputy Naughten commented.
As Minister my job required me to meet investors from all sectors
Under the remit of his former Ministerial post, Deputy Naughten emphasised that it was his job to meet with investors from all sectors with regard to the NBP.
"Whether they were investors from telecoms, renewable energy, environment or natural resources. These investors are the men and women who provide jobs in our country.
"It is important to note that a Competitive Dialogue Procurement Process requires dialogue and Mr. Smyth’s Report details the significant level of engagement that the Department has been expertly managing since the process began," the Deputy added.
The Deputy remarked that during the entire process it was his sole aim to deliver much promised and needed broadband to rural Ireland.
"I am proud of the work that I achieved which has ensured that over one third of rural homes will, by next June, have access to up to 1000mbps pure fibre broadband. I hope that once this procurement process has been completed that the remaining homes, farms and businesses will get access to this technology.
"This should now be the only goal of our government and members of Dáil Éireann at this point and I urge colleagues not to succumb to those who want to make a political issue of the NBP for their own ends and not that of the Country as a whole," the Deputy concluded.