The hypocrisy of Fianna Fáil escalated to new heights today as the party attempted to airbrush from history their role in selling off Telecom Éireann.
Fianna Fáil en masse today supported and voted with a Sinn Féin amendment stating that the effects of the decision to privatise the State company Telecom Éireann has had a negative impact on our country and telecommunications industry.
The amendment also claimed that had Telecom Éireann remained in State ownership, there would have been a less complex and possibly less expensive rollout of broadband subsequently.
Chair of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party, Martin Heydon, said: “This is unbelievable, particularly given the fact that Fianna Fáil themselves sold off Telecom Éireann.
“Fianna Fáil – led by former Minister Micheál Martin– joined in supporting Sinn Féin to condemn a decision they made.
“Fianna Fáil sold off the State’s shares in Telecom Éireann in 1999 when Deputy Martin sat around a Cabinet table and agreed with Bertie Ahern and other ministers to do so.
“Today, Fianna Fáil tried to wash their hands of their central role and portray themselves as completely innocent of the privatisation.
“They, in Government, disposed of the State-owned shares and would like the general public not to realise this.
“This is crass populism and opportunism in its most blatant form,” Deputy Heydon said.
“From the current Fianna Fáil benches, Micheál Martin and eight other TDs- who were members of the 1999 government- supported this Sinn Féin amendment to their own motion today.
“Almost 20% of the Fianna Fáil Dáil contingent today tried to whitewash from memory their role in this. Unbelievable.
“The rollout of broadband nationwide is a key priority for this Government.
“Fine Gael have brought the country back to a position where it can look forward to a bright and vibrant future following the enormous mistakes of Fianna Fáil administrations from 1997 to 2011.
“If the opposition were to provide constructive ideas and proposals, it would be more of a public service – as opposed to unanimously as a party attempting to conveniently forget their role in previous governments and rewrite history,” Deputy Heydon said.