Case for semi-state ESB to take over broadband rollout now unanswerable
The Workers’ Party has said that the latest revelations concerning the contacts between former Communications Minister Denis Naughten and US businessman David McCourt show that the so-called “new politics” ushered in by the Fianna Fail / Fine Gael “Confidence & Supply” agreement was never more than a shabby deception.
Workers’ Party Co. Meath representative, Seamus McDonagh, said that the resignation of Minister Naughten was inevitable as a trail of inappropriate contacts between the minister and Mr. McCourt, representative of the last remaining bidder for the National Broadband programme, have been exposed.
McDonagh said: “Once again a senior government minister has been found to have cavalier disregard for the most basic of ethical guidelines in having numerous personal meetings with the chief representative of a company bidding for one of the state’s most lucrative contracts in some time. The upshot of all of this is a once again stalled roll-out of broadband and it may yet end in the courts, a sworn tribunal or both”
The Workers’ Party spokesperson said there was now an unanswerable case for ending the bidding process and tasking one of the major semi-state companies, ideally the ESB, with the job of guaranteeing the delivery of high speed and high quality broadband to rural Ireland.
Mr. McDonagh said that in addition to exposing the inappropriate contacts with the bidder’s representative, there are now serious questions regarding the grossly inappropriate use of the Dáil bar for private parties and in particular its continuing use a reception lounge for all sorts of developers and business elements seeking public contracts. “The Workers’ Party calls on the Clerk of Dáil Éireann to carry out a root and branch investigation in to inappropriate use of Oireachtas facilities for such events which are wholly unacceptable in the national parliament”.