The criticism by Labour leader Brendan Howlin of the Government’s decision to proceed with the ‘gap-funded’ ownership model is bizarre, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Deputy Pat Deering said: “On Alex White’s recommendation and under his watch, a working group was established in December 2015 to examine the pros and cons of two ownership models – the concession model and the gap funded model.
“It beggar’s belief that if the gap funded model was such a poor choice as Deputy Brendan Howlin now contends, then why did Alex White propose it as one of just two options that Government should proceed with?
“Are the Labour Party deliberately forgetful of their central role in drawing up the National Broadband Plan?
“The Labour’s candidate for MEP in Dublin is the same Alex White who was the Minister for Communications between 2014 and 2016.
“It poses the question whether Deputy Howlin has confidence in his own European candidate?
“Chopping up the National Broadband Plan at this stage and changing tack will add at least two years to the roll out of broadband, and there is no reason to believe it would be any cheaper.
“The Labour Party, Alex White and Pat Rabbittee should be commended for their work in getting the National Broadband Plan to this stage and helping to ensure that the digital divide in Ireland is reversed.
“Unfortunately, in pursuit of headlines and soundbites, Deputy Howlin is throwing that work under the bus,” Deputy Deering said.