The Workers’ Party have called on the government to task ESB Networks with the job of completing Ireland’s National Broadband Plan.

Workers’ Party County Meath representative, Seamus McDonagh, said it was clear that the tendering process had hit a stone wall following the decision of SSE to withdraw from the ENET consortium  which was the last bidder standing.

Seamus McDonagh

Seamus McDonagh

Mr. McDonagh said the National Broadband Plan had become a farce and it was clear that it would never be completed under the present process.   He said: “It is now over six years since this plan was launched in a blaze of publicity by a minister who has long since gone to graze on other pastures.  Meanwhile people in rural Ireland are left with a broadband system that is at best very patchy and which for large swathes of the country is totally non-existent”

“Once again”, said McDonagh, “it has been proved that depending on private enterprise to deliver on strategic infrastructure is a dreadful decision. Following on the wake of the recent Carillion collapse which has left us with unfinished schools in various parts of the country, this latest debacle shows that privatisation is a disaster since a properly resourced publically owned utility such as the ESB would have finished the job by now”.

“Unless rural Ireland is to fall further behind in terms of technology and connectivity then this tendering process should be scrapped.  If they want to implement this plan then they should instruct ESB Networks to step into the breach while returning the company to a solely public role”, said Mr. McDonagh.

The Workers’ Party representative stated: “The ESB has a proven record over many decades.  From Rural Electrification to modernisation of the network the ESB has served this state well. It has also consistently returned large dividends to the state.  Now it should be given the chance to do so again and be given the wherewithal to do the job of turning the now tattered National Broadband Plan into a reality”,