*Pat Hayes. Photograph: Martin Connolly
Fianna Fáil have bit back at comments from Deputy Joe Carey (FG) by accusing the TD of delivering nothing for the county in terms of broadband while questioning their stance on the National Broadband Plan.
Cllr Pat Hayes (FF) has queried the motives of Deputy Carey who in a statement to The Clare Echo called on the thirteen Fianna Fáil councillors to clear up the party’s stance on the National Broadband Plan.
The Clare Echo understands that the remarks ignited a lively discussion within the WhatsApp group of the Clare Fianna Fáil councillors with one representative remarking “shots fired”.
“I think it would be more in their line to look at the national issues and how long the roll out of broadband has taken where Ministers have had to resign, lack of completion and the public money is being fired into it. All we can do at local level is try help small areas and communities, there is no big grant to the Council out of this, we really don’t know the plan. I as a public representative have called on Eir to come to this Council Chamber on three occasions to see what is happening with the broadband, at the moment we’re left in limbo and I don’t really know what agenda Deputy Carey has on this matter, the end game is we’re part of a team in the county working with his own colleagues,” Cllr Hayes said.
According to the party’s spokesperson within the Chamber, people living in rural Ireland have been left with several unanswered questions on the roll-out of the NBP. “My understanding is there is no roll out of broadband in Clare in the coming year, maybe I’m wrong in saying that, as far as I know Clare isn’t listed as one of the priority areas going forward. I don’t know what bells and whistles Deputy Carey is blowing here by blaming Fianna Fáil councillors, I fully support our party colleagues in the line they were taking, there should have been more competition and people on the street will tell you ESB and them ran a mile from it because they are wondering what the future is in terms of technology, you could be halfway down the road and this will change. Deputy Carey might like to blow his own coal but he personally hasn’t delivered anything about broadband for this country”.
Hayes added, “We’re only enactors here, we have a digital strategy for the county, we’re trying to open hubs around the county, we’re trying to get facilities in to support communities and then they’re turning around blaming Fianna Fáil councillors for what we’re doing”.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, the Maghera councillor pointed out that Deputy Carey in recent weeks also took aim at his fellow Fine Gael TD, Pat Breen. “Why would anyone even think of a press release like that criticising someone but I suppose it’s only a few weeks since he was criticising his own colleague, it’s easy know there is an election coming around the door. I can’t see any value in criticising Fianna Fáil councillors and I can’t see any value in doing that, it would be more in his line and all Deputies to work with us here and see if we can deliver broadband for the whole county”.