Tuesday 17 July 2018

'Vote on broadband will not be ignored' - Naughten

Denis Naughten. Picture: True Media
Denis Naughten. Picture: True Media

Ryan Nugent and Kevin Doyle

Communications Minister Denis Naughten will not ignore a Dáil vote in favour of a broadband review, he has confirmed.

Yesterday, the Dáil voted by 77 to 48 in favour of a review into the National Broadband Plan (NBP) after Eir last week pulled out of the bidding, leaving only the one remaining bidder.

Asked by Fianna Fáil's James Lawless if he would press ahead with the broadband tender with Enet, despite the Dáil motion for a review, Mr Naughten said: "I haven't ignored any decision made by Dáil Éireann to date.

"Absolutely we will be considering the decision that was made today."

However, the Irish Independent understands that the Government has no plans to carry out a review of the process.

Yesterday, Fianna Fáil backed a Dáil motion recognising the sale of Telecom Éireann was a bad move - despite being the party that sold it.

The party celebrated winning cross-party support for its calls to have the Government carry out a review of the NBP.

But, in an unusual development, it supported a Sinn Féin amendment to its own original motion.

The amendment pushed for the progression of the NBP through State ownership, "recognising that the effects of the decision to privatise the State company Telecom Éireann in the past has had a negative impact on citizens and telecommunications services, and that State ownership would have facilitated a less complex and possibly less expensive roll out of broadband".

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin was part of the cabinet that sanctioned the privatisation of Telecom Éireann, in 1999.

Responding to this, Fianna Fáil's Timmy Dooley said "there's no point in still saying we were right".

"We can bury our heads in the sand.

"Virtually everybody believed it was the right thing at the time," he added.

Irish Independent

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