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'Idea that rural broadband isn’t worth investing in is unfair'-ICMSA


 Photo: Liam Burke

Photo: Liam Burke

Photo: Liam Burke

Spending on Dundrum in Dublin and Dundrum in Co Tipperary must be provided on an equal basis if projects like rural broadband are to work, ICMSA president Pat McCormack has said in reaction to criticism of the spend on the National Broadband Plan.

Mr McCormack made the analogy between the Dublin suburb and Tipperary village in response to controversy that taxpayers will have to fit a bill of €3bn to fund rural broadband.

He stated that if Ireland is a republic it should endeavour to provide the same level of infrastructure and services to all areas of the state, whether urban or rural.

“If the most crude cost/benefit analysis is going to be applied to every cent of State spending on a simple ‘Dundrum, Dublin’ versus ‘Dundrum, Co Tipp’ basis then nothing will ever get spent outside the M50 again.

“If population density is going to be the only consideration or the decisive consideration than rural Ireland will always lose out, and the flight into the urban centres – with the accommodation crisis that we’re seeing right now  - will actually accelerate and worsen,” said the ICMSA chief.

Mr McCormack pointed out that criticism of the spend has been given the organisation a very “revealing glimpse” of how rural Ireland is viewed by some very well placed commentators and where its concerns are on the national priorities’ list.

“Rural Ireland is not some ‘add-on’ concept or recurring cost item in the national accounts. We are citizens too and we will insist that our communities and infrastructure are factored-in and included as Ireland looks to the next decades.

“The idea that rural Ireland isn’t worth investing in is unfair and self-fulfilling –because if we don’t get the investment then we definitely will fall further behind and be unable to play the role we certainly can and want to.”

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