Fine Gael Senator Anthony Lawlor has announced that Government is to invest €53 to deliver high-speed broadband to Kildare.
Senator Lawlor was speaking as the Government announced the biggest initiative for rural Ireland since electrification.
“This is a landmark day for Kildare and for rural Ireland generally. The Government has today (Tue) signed a contract for the National Broadband Plan, which will see investment of €53 to bring high-speed broadband to 13,329 homes across Kildare.”
The National Broadband Plan is the Government’s plan to rollout high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises nationally, including 100,000 businesses and farms, and over 600 schools, where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service.
Senator Lawlor continued: “The work will start immediately, with roll-out of broadband within eight weeks of today’s contract signing. Over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within four years.
“Quite simply, this means rural communities in Kildare will not be left behind. All of rural Ireland will get the same access to opportunities offered by high-speed broadband as those in urban areas.
“Fine Gael is delivering on transforming the country for the better and providing more opportunities to all. We have prioritised rural broadband as others, including Fianna Fáil, did everything they could to attempt to derail the plan in a bid to score political points.
“Unlike Fianna Fáil and others, Fine Gael is working to ensure rural Ireland is to the fore of the country’s progression and development. Whereas we have a plan for the country, opposition and critics like Fianna Fáil provide only obstacles. They have no plan, no solutions and no policies for broadband for Ireland.
“As an initial step, the Government has published a list of approximately 300 community centres, schools, library hubs and local GAA halls in every county that will be connected to high speed broadband during 2020, to enable communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband.
“In Kildare the locations are:
|Back Gate Lodge, Kilkea Demesne, Castledermot, Co. Kildare, R14Y006|
|Bigstone Community Hall, Ballyraggan, Rathvilly, Co. Kildare, R93E956|
|Clonfert Pet Farm, Clonfert South, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, W23PY05|
|Crookstown Community Hall, Moyleabbey, Ballitore, Co. Kildare, R14HP80|
|Hse, Kilcock Primary Care Centre, Commons West, Co.Kildare|
|Lullymore Heritage Park, Lullymore East, Rathangan, Co. Kildare, R51E036|
|Rathmore National School, Rathmore West, Naas, Co. Kildare, W91VK46|
|Saint David’s National School, Piper’s Hill Campus, Killashee, Naas, Co. Kildare, W91AE26|
|Stresslite Floors, Hempstown, Blessington, Co. Kildare, W91XW89|
“The ultimate goal here is to deliver high-speed broadband to homes and businesses all across the country. The delivery of high-speed broadband will be hugely beneficial to economic development and job creation in Kildare. It will open up a whole range of possibilities including: flexible and remote working; smart health with online GP and nursing services and medical monitoring; cloud-based services and connected devices; smart farming opportunities; digital learning; and reliable electronic payments and bookings for businesses.
“We want to ensure that people who wish to live and work in Kildare are supported in doing so. It is so crucial for balanced regional development that everyone in the country does not have to go to Dublin to work, study or start an enterprise.
“Today’s announcement by my Fine Gael colleague the Minister for Communications, Richard Bruton, is quite simply the biggest investment in rural Ireland since rural electrification”, Senator Lawlor concluded.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “Some people try to divide our country – urban v rural, east coast v west coast, Dublin v the rest of the country. The Government is all about bringing Ireland closer together, ensuring that all parts of the country benefit from our prosperity. That requires investment in roads, broadband, higher education and enterprise and it’s happening.
“This contract means that every home, school, farm and business in Ireland will get access to high speed broadband. No part of the country will be left behind in securing the jobs and opportunities of the future. And as we know, the future is already here in our daily lives with online access offering ever more opportunities for living and working.
“Broadband will be the biggest investment in Rural Ireland ever. We can have more people working from home, a better work-life balance, fewer car journeys, and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. We can connect better with the world, with family members, with business, with new ideas and new ways of doing things. Every school in the country, like this one I’m standing in today, will be able to access digital technologies for teaching, while healthcare professionals can check in and monitor patients remotely no matter where they are based.”
Minister Bruton said: “Today is a historic day for rural Ireland. By guaranteeing high speed broadband for every home, business and farm in the country, we are ensuring no one is left behind. This will have a transformative impact on rural Ireland, opening up opportunities in enterprise, health, smart farming to name a few – high speed broadband is increasingly becoming a vital utility and today the government is securing access for every person in the country.
“Without high speed broadband it will be significantly more difficult to attract new jobs to rural areas and develop new enterprise opportunities and it will be more difficult to retain the jobs that currently exist in these areas. With high speed broadband, we can ensure that people in rural Ireland are able to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented by the digital economy, from health care to farming, and from education to agriculture, rural development and tourism. We will not leave rural Ireland and one quarter of our country behind.”