"Ireland is being digitally divided by the broadband haves and have nots”
Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has raised the impact of the dire state of broadband across rural Ireland – especially due to the repeated national lockdowns and the need to be able to work from home.
An Teachta Tóibín:
“Week after week, my office is inundated with calls from across Meath and other rural constituencies, pleading with me to do something about the inexcusable state of Broadband in rural Ireland. The government has said remote working is here to stay, and will be part of a new way of doing business post-pandemic.
“How can this be done, when in many areas there is not even a mobile phone signal. Remote working represents a huge opportunity to address regional imbalance and end the commuter hell that is afflicting at least 1/3 of this country. In a pandemic where you can’t go 5km from your own home, people find themselves in a postcode lottery where some are connected to the outside world and many are not”.
“This crazy situation has highlighted a new educational inequality where many children and teenagers are unable to attend classes online because the signal is permanently reconnecting. How in God’s name can you expect Children to sit a traditional leaving cert in this situation”.
“Leaving cert students and University students are unable to participate in remote exams or assessments, and have to explain to their lecturer that it’s not their fault – but the governments. For high risk persons, how can they be expected to permanently stay at home and not leave the house, when the broadband can’t remain constant enough for them to do a shopping delivery or pay a bill online?
“It is all well and good, to promote remote working or demand people work from home or people not leave their houses, but this all too indicative of the Dublin-centric mind-set of our government. If you live in Dublin, for most, broadband is not a barrier to working at home. Ireland is being digitally divided by the broadband haves and have nots. This is not the time for vague commitments, the government needs to accelerate roll out”.