We will provide “next generation broadband to every home and business in the State…” they said! Sure it’ll be great…they said. There’ll be “broadband everywhere” by 2012…they said! Yeah, they said plenty; and much of it was a load of bulls**t! However, a bit of progress was made in 2016 when the list of bidders to provide broadband to rural Ireland was shortlisted to three: Enet, Siro and Eir, with Eir netting the contract, and, oh the excitement was almost palpable, readers; 85 per cent of us were on course to have high-speed broadband this year.
So…what went wrong? Well basically Eir pulled our life support plug at the last minute citing “significant commercial issues and complexity within the tender process,” yada, yada, yada. To be honest I don’t care! What does concern me though is the fact that in 2018 we are still discussing this vital part of rural Ireland’s infrastructure, and, as Eir have now fecked it up for everyone we, the taxpayer, are left with just one bidder, Enet, ‘winning’ the contract. Yep, we’ve got Hobson’s choice!
Now, I have to be honest, part of me (only a small part) felt a bit sorry for Communications Minister Denis Naughten as he tried hard to sugar-coat the whole pile of poo, fumbling with his “shovels in the ground,” comment; hoping us poor saps would be gullible enough to swallow it. But come on Denis, you’re an intelligent man, face up to the facts, acknowledge our predicament and accept the situation for what it is! Rural Ireland has been abandoned once again, cast aside and treated like a humongous boil on the government’s ar*e, and your claims that “we are the global leaders” when it comes to rolling out broadband won’t wash as compensation for what could be interpreted as evidence of the State’s discrimination against those of us living in remote areas of Roscommon!
Sure anyone can see, (given last week’s jailing of paedophile Matthew Horan), that horrifically, it appears some nine-year-olds in parts of this country have more access to high-speed broadband than adults living in Roscommon…and that’s a tragic fact.
Now I know you’re frustrated Denis, I know you’re disappointed, and I know you desperately wanted to bring high-speed broadband to rural Ireland, because you’re a good man. I would also imagine you’ve been dealing with (probable) veiled murmurings of intent to withdraw by Eir, so the situation must be extremely dificult for you and I empathise, I really do. However, I’m no applause-giving junkie, and I’m finding it hard to believe that Enet, who’re now in the driving seat, won’t decide to hike prices, with the government (i.e. taxpayers) being asked to hawk the family silver at a knockdown price in order to get connected!
Seriously readers, I think this whole kitchen sink drama (‘cos that’s where I get my best signal), is just the final step in our descent from highly important voters to people who just don’t matter. On the other hand, our highly capable Denis may just have another cunning plan hidden up his sleeve! Time will tell!
Thank you Paud – thank you readers
With the increasing number of people using emails, (well those who have internet access), hand-written letter writers are a dying breed. However, there are definitely some beautiful letter and card writers in Roscommon; they’re the ones, the loyal readers who take the time to put pen to paper and correspond with me, telling me how much they enjoy my column or appreciate a profile piece I’ve written on them following an interview; and I am always so grateful to hear from you. Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
However, this week, when I dropped into the office, (I’m hardly ever there), I was given a letter, hand-delivered, if you will, by a reader, a gentleman called Mr. Paud Sexton, who wrote, among other lovely words, ‘I wouldn’t miss reading your musings every week for the world.’ Paud also sent me a beautiful, self-composed piece of prose which I’m going to frame and place on my wall…if that’s okay with you, Mr. Sexton.
I’ve never met Paud, however, given his beautiful letter, given the fact he walked into the Roscommon People office to personally deliver it, it tells me he is the definition of an old-style gentleman living in a modern world, and that, readers, is a rarity.
I’ve come to learn a lot about people by the way they conduct themselves and how they behave, and Paud’s letter, and the way it was written with such flair of penmanship (or pen-personship, to allow the P.C. brigade to unclench), tells me he comes from an era of immaculately polished shoes, and where chivalry and good manners were the order of the day. An era where people found value in items according to their story, as opposed to their financial worth. I could be wrong, as I said I’ve never met Paud, but it’s my gut feeling, given his words, and his creative piece of prose, which I did ‘like’ very much, that Paud is clearly someone who showcases high principals and morals, and of course his taste in newspapers is impeccable, given he’s a loyal Roscommon People reader. Thank you Paud. xx