Deputy Joe McHugh reaffirms government commitment to rural broadband

There are fears that National Broadband Plan has been cast into doubt

Michelle NicPhaidin


Michelle NicPhaidin



Minister moves to ease concerns

The shock resignation of Communications Minister Denis Naughten has prompted fears that the plan to deliver high speed broadband to every home in Ireland may face delay. 

Denis Naughten stepped down yesterday after it emerged that he had held private meetings with businessman David McCourt, who is involved in the bid for the National Broadband Plan tender.

Mr Naughten resigned as Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment in wake of the controversy.

The Taoiseach has said that Richard Bruton is to take on the portfolio of Communications, Climate Action and Environment on a temporary basis.

Speaking on Highland Radio this morning, Deputy Joe McHugh said that the resignation had been a shock: "Obviously with the extra information that the Taoiseach divulged after Denis's decision he had no choice, he made a number of judgement errors."

Deputy McHugh added that the government continue to be committed to broadband in rural Ireland. 

"It will remain to be a priority, there's thousands of houses in Donegal that have broadband and I am very, very conscious of the fact that there is many, many people that still don't have it so that commitment will be there," he said.

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."