Cllr Antóin Watters
Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has hit out at the latest delays in the National Broadband Plan (NBP) accusing the government of ‘not caring about rural communities’.
Cllr Watters whose constituency is mostly rural said “it was confirmed by government officials and National Broadband that just 17,000 premises have been completed this year to date. Their actual target was 115,000 so they are just under 100,000 short. That just isn’t good enough.
“They had the cheek to revise their target downwards to 60,000, half of their initial target, and they are nowhere near even reaching that. My faith in Broadband Ireland rolling out this national plan dwindles every time they make an announcement.
“You know of course that rural Ireland will be the last to get it because it is just never a priority.
"People who live in rural Ireland, my neighbours in the Cooley Peninsula, are treated like second class citizens by the government.
"You can be assured that if there was a shortage of broadband or anything else in Dublin the government wouldn’t be long getting it sorted.”
Cllr Watters continued: “These delays have serious implications for rural communities.
"I know the government doesn’t realise it but there are actual people living in rural areas that have the same needs and requirements of those who live in Dublin and urban areas.
"There are businesses trying to operate and young people learning from home, all of whom need reliable broadband for their day to day lives. Broadband in the Cooley Peninsula can be sporadic and they are the lucky ones, some have no broadband at all.”
Cllr Watters said he was disappointed that “yet again we are hearing that rural families and rural workers will be left waiting for broadband.
Despite it being a commitment in the Programme for Government, it would seem that rural communities are once again at the bottom of the list of government priorities.”
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