With two Government departments claiming responsibility for the National Broadband Plan, broadband roll-out across the State will be further delayed and threatened.
This is the view of Galway West TD and Fianna Fáil spokesperson on regional development, Éamon Ó Cuív, who has alleged a “turf war” is developing between Minister for Communications Denis Naughten and the Minister for Rural Affiars Heather Humphreys, with the latter being given responsibility for the NBP by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.
According to Dep Ó Cuív, Minister Naughten “appears reluctant to give up his Department’s ownership of the plan”, saying the department will continue with “the procurement for a high speed telecoms network” as well as developing “proposals for an entity to manage all of the State’s broadband contracts”.
Dep Ó Cuív says government departments “do not have a great track record” when it comes to “joined up thinking” and the current situation “sounds alarm bells”.
“We need a coherent and workable plan which falls entirely under the remit of one Minister, who can take full ownership of the project,” the Cornamona TD said. “The Taoiseach needs to urgently clarify the situation and ensure the National Broadband Plan is pursued. We cannot run the risk of it falling through the cracks. High speed broadband is essential to the development of rural Ireland.”