Rural Clare to continue to sit in Digital Blackness

May 26th, 2008 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen commenting on weekend reports that the Communications Minister Eamon Ryan has confirmed that they will not be contributing €150 towards Eircom’s broadband investment plans has warned that “Communities in County Clare will continue to live in “Digital Blackspots” in spite of commitments in the Programme for Government that they “are committed to moving Ireland to the forefront of knowledge-based economies in the world through the provision of open access broadband”. Deputy Breen claims there is little evidence on the ground that they are serious about delivering on this commitment.Over the weekend Minister Eamon Ryan confirmed that the Government would not be proceeding with the investment as it was “not in the public interest” for the state to invest “in any one platform or any one technology provider”, nevertheless the Government appears to have no plan B with the regional disparity in the delivery of broadband connectivity set to continue.

“People are at their wits end here in County Clare, frustrated by the lack of broadband. Take the situation in Ballynacally and Kildysart for instance, broadband was due to be delivered in the second quarter of 2008, this roll-out is now delayed and the reason I am told is that the link upgrade required to provide capacity at the exchange in Kildysart for broadband requires further investment. The people of Ballynacally and Kildysart are tired of hearing excuses but unfortunately they are not the only communities in Clare being left in this situation”

“This lack of investment in broadband connectivity will continue to frustrate Rural Ireland if urgent action is not taken in addressing the regional difficulties in broadband performance and delivery. I have seen no evidence to date that this Government is committed to addressing this imbalance.”

“Minister Ryan stated in the Dail recently during a Fine Gael Members Private Members Motion on the lack of broadband that he is “keen to progress, with urgency”, if he is serious then he should publish the New Generation Network Strategy Document and County Clare must be included in any new pilot scheme being considered in this strategy. The disparatity between the east and west of this country must be ended and Minister Ryan must stop dithering on the future of broadband, otherwise communities throughout this county will continue to sit in digital blackness.”