Eir’s rising costs creates confusion for National Broadband Plan – O’Connell

-   Kate O'Connell, TD

Eir’s projected costs for the National Broadband Plan are becoming more confusing and escalating every day, Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell has said.

 

A letter from Eir to the Government says the level of taxpayer funding now needed by Eir to complete the plan could be at least €1.5bn.

 

Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell also criticised Fianna Fáil’s attempts to portray Eir as a white knight to the tendering process.

 

“Eir initially bid almost €3bn for the NBP contract before withdrawing from the tendering process. Last week, they said they could do it for €1bn – and today we learn that this is now €1.5bn,but could rise further. Figures are being thrown around like confetti. Are they serious whatsoever about their interest?” Deputy O’Connell asked.

 

“Eir initially pulled out of the process, citing high risks and too much oversight by the department. I think we can all agree there has to be proper State oversight here.

 

“Without proper oversight, some consumers could end up paying thousands more. Where is the guarantee from Eir on quality and transparency? Do they think people want to plough their cash into a private company where there is no oversight?

 

“These are issues that should resonate too with Fianna Fáil and Timmy Dooley over Eir’s intervention. Cheap and fast bids often turn out to far more troublesome than those proffering them disclose. When it comes to causing a financial turmoil, Fianna Fáil are untouched in a league of their own. Have they learnt anything from the past?

 

“I hope Deputy Dooley and Fianna Fáil’s thoughts on the NBP are better than that of their predecessors when it comes to large State projects, which aim to assist all living in this country.

 

“This year we celebrate 90 years of the Ardnacrusha hydroelectric scheme, claimed internationally as a triumph. It cleared the way for rural electrification and gave other developing nations a blueprint for similar schemes. Luckily for the Government of the day, they heeded no advice from Eamon de Valera – also a Clare TD – who initially described Ardnacrusha as a white elephant,” Deputy O’Connell concluded.

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