Fine Gael TD for Kildare South, and Chairman of Fine Gael’s Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee, Martin Heydon, has said that a €275 million investment in broadband, announced today (Tuesday) will improve connectivity for rural Ireland and bring 30 megabit broadband to every house and business in the country.
“The Government has announced a €27 billion six year Capital Investment Plan to help with the ongoing work to secure the recovery, to restore all the jobs lost in the recession by 2018 and to get unemployment down to 6% by 2020.
“Since becoming a TD I have prioritised investment in broadband, particularly in rural areas, and so I am delighted that it is a real focus of this investment plan. The recent Fine Gael ‘Standing up for Rural Ireland’ campaign highlighted to the Government the importance of ring-fenced dedicated funding for broadband. So it is great that as part of the Capital Investment Plan there is an absolute commitment to roll out 30 megabit broadband to every house and business around the country by 2020, with €275 million in ring fenced funding.
“This is a real departure for a Government Capital Investment Plan, which is normally construction focused and all about schools, roads and health facilities. While this Plan will fund all of those areas, the investment in broadband, while not as visible, is equally as important for quality of life and the success of small businesses.
“The Department of Communications is now embarking on a tender process to ensure we get the best value for money for the taxpayer when it comes to broadband provision.
“This is an affordable, responsible Capital Investment Plan which is consistent with the Government’s plan to eliminate Government borrowing by 2018. We will never go back to the bad old days of boom and bust. The days of Fianna Fáil blank cheques are gone.
“The Capital Plan is also necessary to promote regional economic growth and create jobs, and the projects committed to are reliant on the choices made by this, and the next Government to continue the recovery. Fine Gael and Labour have proven that we can work together to deliver a strong economy. The decisions taken by this Government have brought us to an important time in our recovery which is still fragile and incomplete. We must continue to manage the national finances carefully or risk falling backwards.
“We are now the fastest growing economy in Europe and we are creating over 1,300 new jobs a week, yet we know that not every family has felt the benefits yet. This investment plan will help spread the recovery around the country so that every person and family can benefit and enjoy a better quality of life.”