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Conway-Walsh, Rose

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Order of Business

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Senator Rose Conway-Walsh

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I welcome Mrs. Ardagh to the Visitors Gallery. I hope she will have a nice day.
On behalf of the Sinn Féin team in the Seanad, I congratulate Senator Ruane on her wonderful achievement.
Most of all, I wish to discuss broadband provision. The Cathaoirleach referred to meeting a French delegation. I hope he congratulated the delegates on the fact that a French billionaire owned our national telecommunications company which was sold off by the people sitting to my left. First, we had the Australian spectators. Now, we have a Frenchman, all of which has left us in this state. We must ask a couple of questions. Will the State be open to a legal challenge because of the debacle that is the tender process, for example, the 18 meetings held and the way in which the process has been conducted? There is also the fact that 300,000 households were hived off to Eir, rendering it more difficult for the rural broadband programme to be viable. While I do not disregard the report, it does not cover everything. As it is not a legal opinion, we need to get one. Above all, we need to know when the process for the 542,000 households without broadband will start and finish. We, in rural Ireland, are fed up with the semantics and announcements. Last night I started to count the number of announcements of broadband services. I gave up at 76, but I am sure it could have run into the hundreds. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael-led Governments have announced broadband services time and again, but they have never delivered. I am not just raising the issue because of the people and businesses without broadband. I am also raising it because of the thousands of jobs we have lost during the years because we do not have proper broadband or telecommunications infrastructure. We have a Minister for Rural and Community Development who announces every LEADER programme grant going, in which he had no hand, act or part and who portrays the illusion that everything is wonderful and fantastic in rural Ireland-----