Following the government decision to sign a contract for a €3 billion National Broadband Plan, Aontú candidates Cllr Jim Codd (Wexford) and Finian Toomey (Cork North Central) outlined their concerns.

Cllr Codd stated:

“The government’s announcement that it has signed the contract for the National Broadband Plan should be treated with great caution.

“Fine Gael is desperately trying to sugar-coat its deal with the Graham-McCourt consortium and seeks to tar legitimate questions of its approach as tantamount to opposing the national interest.

“It is extremely worrying that Fine Gael, supported by Fianna Fáil, is intent on funding a national broadband plan to the tune of €3 billion of public money and then handing ownership of the supposedly ‘national’ network over to private hands.

“Citizens far too often experience the negative effects and shortsightedness of government policy designed to use public money for the benefit of private super-profiteering interests. Privatising essential national infrastructure is reckless and irresponsible.

“This is just one more example of the terrible lack of accountability displayed towards us, the little people, by this high-handed government.”

Finian Toomey stated:

“Aontú supports a national broadband network and ensuring an end to a digital divide so that citizens, families and small-medium business can be assured of a future.

“The best possible national broadband network would be one that remains in public ownership. Handing over ownership of a publicly funded investment the scale of the broadband network inherently threatens the long term viability and security of the network itself.

“The Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael decision to plough ahead with a privatised broadband network illustrates the tunnel vision of the establishment and shows that they cannot be trusted with public money.

“We already know that both main parties cannot be trusted with public money, just look at the hundreds of millions of euro overspend on the Children’s Hospital. Now Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael are blatant in their intention not only to spend billions of public money, but to hand over ownership and control of what the public will pay for to private hands for private profit. Like the energy network, Aontú supports a publicly owned national broadband network.”