Government claims proposed Broadband Plan review will cause further delays

Fianna Fáil says it wants "a quick, independent review"

Government claims proposed Broadband Plan review will cause further delays

Timmy Dooley. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated: 21.50

The Communications Minister Denis Naughten has claimed a Fianna Fáil proposal to review the handling of the National Broadband Plan will only delay the roll-out further.

The Dáil has been debating a Fianna Fáil motion on the issue.

It follows the withdrawal of Eir from the process, leaving enet as the only bidder for the massive contract to deliver rural broadband.

Last year Siro - a joint venture launched by Vodafone and the ESB - also pulled out of the process.

Fianna Fáil's Stephen Donnelly says the relationship between the Government and Enet needs to be examined:

"What is the Government so desperate to hide in their existing agreement with the last remaining bidder, enet.

"Fianna Fáil wants a quick, independent review of what has happened to date and the Government says 'no, it'll cause a delay'.

"They've delayed for seven years - but God forbid there's a quick review of what has happened".

 Fianna Fáil brought a motion in the Dáil calling for greater State subvention to be looked at.

However, the Government has said it will oppose the motion.

Fianna Fáil communications spokesperson Timmy Dooley was earlier asked if a review could delay the roll-out of broadband, and see the one remaining bidder pull out.

He argued: "There are always unintended consequences, but the reality is we have a crisis now. Three of the biggest companies in the State - who understand the roll-out of infastructure, particularly around the [telecommunications] sector - have raised the red flag.

"The Government must take stock of that, and they must bring in independent consultants to carry out an immediate review."

Minister Naughten, however, insisted they have followed best practice - suggesting a review will only hold up the process.

He said: "We're determined now to proceed with this project, and to proceed with the project as quickly as possible.

"I'm not prepared to tolerate delays. We have a robust system in place - it will stand up to any scrutiny that takes place."

Last week, Minister Naughten claimed Ireland is a 'global leader' when it comes to rolling out broadband, saying no other country in the world is trying to bring high-speed broadband to every single home and premises.

Additional reporting: Stephen McNeice and Jack Quann