The chances of a snap election before Christmas have escalated, as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is now one vote short of what is needed to stay in power.
Deputy Denis Naughten resigned from Minister of Communications yesterday after finforming the Taoiseach about six meetings he held with billionaire businessman David McCourt.
Deputy Naughten had represented Leitrim in Roscommon/ South Leitrim consitituency from 2007 -2016.
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy said, “It appears clear that we have yet to see the full scale of the mismanagement issues related to the National Broadband Plan. The entire process has been rotten to the core.
“This debacle has it’s roots in the Fianna Fáil decision to privatise Telecom Eireann (latterly Eircom). Rural communities were always going to be left behind when the profits of multinationals prioritised public service provision.
“In recent days alone, the Minister for Finance poured further doubt onto the delivery of any infrastructure by attributing a measly €87 million to the scheme. The cost of the NBP is widely accepted to be in the region of €1bn!
“The resignation of the Minister will be of little consolation for those 540,000 homes and businesses waiting to be connected to 21st century technology.
Mr Naughten’s departure leaves the Government in jeopardy — and reliant on Independent TD Michael Lowry. The Government is still one vote short of the 57 required even after the four Independent Alliance members, Katherine Zappone, Sean Canney, and Mr Lowry are included. It must therefore get the support of Noel Greelish or former Fine Gael TD Peter Fitzpatrick to pass the budget.