Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

15.25 16 Apr 2019


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The Taoiseach has confirmed the cost of the National Broadband Plan could be around €3 billion.

It had been hoped Ministers would unveil details of the project this week.

However, Communications Minister Richard Bruton yesterday confirmed that the process has been delayed until after Easter.

The original cost of the broadband plan was projected to be half a billion euro.

Leo Varadkar has confirmed in the Dáil that it's likely to cost in the billions.

He told deputies: "As you know, the cost - including VAT, contingencies and so on - could be in region of €3 billion, albeit spread over 25 years.

"Bear in mind the benefits - 540,000 homes, farms and businesses... over a million people... a huge project of huge scale."

'Chaotic and farcical'

Sinn Féin said the Government's approach to the broadband plan is 'chaotic and farcical'.

Party leader Mary Lou McDonald clashed with Mr Varadkar in the Dáil over the issue.

Deputy McDonald argued: "It's an astonishing thing that the head of Government would take such a laissez-faire approach to final costings - you should have a view as to the affordability or the price range."

The Taoiseach insisted they are going through the process in "excruciating detail".

Responding to the Sinn Féin leader, he said: "Deputy, I really think you need to pull out your Irish-French dictionary and look up what the word laissez-faire - there's nothing laissez-faire about this at all."

Earlier, Fianna Fail suggested it's not too late for the Government to take ownership of the National Broadband Plan by awarding the tender to the ESB.

Deputy Timmy Dooley said the tender process has been irreparably damaged since two bidders pulled out last year.

He said: "Those that pulled out didn't believe that it was viable if the Government was only going to put up €500 million.

"Let the cost be whatever it is - it will be owned by the State after."

Main image: Leo Varadkar. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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Broadband Leo Varadkar Mary Lou McDonald National Broadband Plan Timmy Dooley

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