Fianna Fáil says broadband plan 'wounded, possibly fatally' after Naughten resignation

The Communication Minister's departure has led to fresh concerns about the €500m National Broadband Plan

Fianna Fáil says broadband plan 'wounded, possibly fatally' after Naughten resignation

Timmy Dooley. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

The plan to deliver high speed broadband to every home in Ireland may have been 'fatally wounded' following the resignation of the Communications Minister, Fianna Fáil has warned.

Denis Naughten stepped down yesterday after it emerged he held a number of private meetings with businessman David McCourt, who is involved in the sole remaining consortium bidding for the €500 million National Broadband Plan tender.

The plan aims to ensure that all people in Ireland have access to high speed internet, no matter where they live.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has ordered a review to see if the process has been compromised.

Fianna Fail's communications spokesperson Timmy Dooley said the future of the National Broadband Plan has been cast into doubt.

Deputy Dooley observed: "I certainly think it is wounded, possibly fatally.

"I think there's a possibility - if the department and the procurement team are serious about this, and if they get back to the serious players that pull out - they may have to spend more money than they had initially envisaged.

"So be it - the people out there who need broadband deserve it."

The resignation of Denis Naughten has also led to concerns about the stability of the Government - with the independent minister's departure cutting into the numbers of Leo Varadkar's minority government.

The resignation prompted calls from some TDs for the Taoiseach to call an election.

It also comes as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are set to begin negotiations on whether to extend the confidence and supply arrangement propping the government up.

Deputy Dooley says it is hard to tell if there'll be a snap election, saying it will depend on the talks between the two parties.

"For sure the Government have lost some of their members.. so yeah their numbers are getting tighter."