News & Media

Govt must now honour Labour motion to keep broadband in public ownership

24 October 2019

Statement by Sean Sherlock TD
Spokesperson on Justice, Children and Youth Affairs

Labour TD Seán Sherlock has welcomed the overwhelming majority given to the party's motion to keep Ireland's broadband network in public ownership.

The motion, which was debated during Private Members’ time last night, has been passed by 86 votes to 50 in the Dáil this afternoon.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“Today’s result has given us a huge mandate for keeping Ireland’s broadband network in State ownership and I’d like to thank my colleagues in the Dáil for recognising the importance of our motion this afternoon.

“Everyone agrees that we should have comprehensive broadband for every home and business in this country.

“But as I argued during last night’s debate, spending nearly €3billion of public money on a broadband network and then relinquishing control of it to a private monopoly is not so much as selling the family silver, but paying someone to take it off our hands.

“And once that initial contract is up in 25 years, that private monopoly would be in a position to significantly increase the costs to users of the network.

“This is a decision that impacts generations to come and we want to ensure equality of access to high speed broadband across the country for future generations.

“We saw what happened when Eircom was bought by vulture funds that stripped assets from the company before selling it on, and there’s no doubt that similar funds in the future could do the same with our broadband network.

“The decision to keep broadband in public ownership now has the backing of Dáil Éireann as well as the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Change before that, and I trust that Government will honour today’s vote and do the right thing by rural Ireland.”