Ó Domhnaill Slams Communication Minister on scandalous loss of €13.4million EU Funding for Rural Broadband

Donegal Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has today told the Seanad that it remains unacceptable and deplorable that communications Minister Pat Rabittee has not drawn down the available EU Funding of some €13.4m for the provision of the Rural Broadband Reach Scheme (RDR).

Speaking in the Seanad earlier today Senator Ó Domhnaill said; “Axis 3 of the 2007 – 2013 Rural Development Programme (RDP) available to Ireland through the European Commission had a provision of €13.4m available for upgrading Rural Broadband.”

“The agreement between the Irish Government and the EU Commission in 2007 provided for Irish exchequer co-funding of €4.4million (25%) which when added to the available EU Funding of €13.4m would bring the total funding available for a New Rural Broadband Scheme to €17.8m.”

“The scheme had the objective of securing access to broadband for certain target premises in rural Ireland to which affordable broadband is not currently available and is unlikely to be available in the near future. Many of these premises are located in rural areas like County Donegal such as Dunlewey, Derryconnor, Arranmore and Tory Islands, Fanad, parts of the Gaeltacht lár and other parts of the County.”

“Minister Rabittee recently told the Dáil that the lack of draw-down was due to a lack of interest from broadband service providers. However, I have since checked with all of the broadband service providers to County Donegal and have been informed by each company that no consultation whatsoever occurred.”

“This revelation means that Minister Rabittee has serious questions to answer.”

“The fact remains that many rural households and businesses remain without any or an inadequate broadband service. Astonishingly this is at a time when substantial European funding was available to solve the delivery of a broadband service. Every household or business with an inadequate broadband service now deserves an explanation from the Minister and the Government as to why they fail to put the Rural Broadband Scheme in place.”

“This clearly shows once again the lack of interest this Government is placing on Rural Ireland.”

Posted: Feb 5, 2014     |     Categories: Uncategorized