"The announcement of a deal between Eir and the Government is of little benefit to most people in Rural Ireland and means that the National Broadband Scheme is now likely not to be in place until 2021 at the earliest," according to West Cavan Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley
"Last July, to great fanfare, the National Broadband Scheme was again launched by Minister Naughten extending it to cover a further 170,000 households. Now the Minister has agreed to leave 300,000 households to the mercy of Eir whilst at the same time adding 85,000 households to the National Broadband Scheme.
"Eir have had years to provide services in these areas but have failed abysmally. As we are all aware, Eircom has gone through a lot of changes in recent years, all focused on satisfying shareholders of the now Jersey based company, none of the changes have been about investing in customer services. Having seen the plans announced by Eir, whilst welcome they are of little benefit to the vast majority of people in Rural Ireland.
"The National Broadband Scheme is now seriously in jeopardy. It appears that the Government have caved to the implicit threat of legal action from them if these households remained in the NBS, now it looks entirely possible that the other companies may now either withdraw from the bidding process. Either way this all delays the provision of an essential piece of infrastructure for rural communities."
The West Cavan Councillor concluded, "I fear that like the last time a Fine Gael led Government allocated a communications licence which ended in the Moriarty Tribunal, the people of Ireland will end up paying the bill for a major error on the part of Government and rural communities, already bereft of basic services will suffer most."