Broadband delays in Castlerea and Boyle

Delays in rolling out broadband to Castlerea and Boyle were criticised this week by Deputy Denis Naughten, who criticised the allocation of €10 million from the broadband roll out budget to Sustainable Energy Ireland. "Fine Gael is a strong supporter of Sustainable Energy Ireland and we have welcomed the Greener Homes Scheme as a positive development. This scheme is an essential part of improving energy efficiency within households and allocating public monies to support such a scheme is necessary. "However, what is not acceptable is to allow the expenditure on an energy conservation scheme to grow above its budget allocation to the extent of €16.2 million, and to expect that figure to be met by re-allocating funds from an area as important as the broadband roll-out to the towns of Castlerea and Boyle,’ stated Deputy Naughten.  ‘The impact of this will be a delay to the roll-out of broadband to the towns in West and North Roscommon of at least three months. It was envisaged that contracts for the two metropolitan area network projects would be signed in November but this will now be delayed until at least February 2008. "If further evidence was needed of the Government’s lack of commitment to the roll-out of broadband to places like West & North Roscommon then the decision this week, which Fine Gael alone voted against, to divert money from broadband roll-out to shore up the Greener Homes Initiative is proof positive.  "The roll-out of adequate broadband connectivity to Castlerea and Boyle is just as important a priority for Irish competitiveness as is conservation within the energy sector. Regrettably this decision by the Government means that many parts of Roscommon must continue to wait. Broadband, with its endless possibilities, is also, I contend, about sustainable living. The ‘pale’ mentality of the Government is a blow to rural communities.’