Tuesday, 14 May 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
Mary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
I thank the Taoiseach for that. The best way to proceed is for the contract to be made public. If I am correct, I understand the Minister, Deputy Bruton, has undertaken to make that request of Granahan McCourt. This is the best way to go forward. I do not accept the Taoiseach's analysis that risk is being equally shared. Perhaps, more importantly, that is not the conclusion arrived at by the Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. By his estimation, the deal is front-loaded by the taxpayer. While acknowledging there are break points at year four and year six for a State review, he points out that at that those stages the State will have invested €1.19 billion and €1.95 billion, respectively. He also sets out that by 2026 the taxpayer will have committed €2.2 billion while the private company will have its money back by 2028. That does not sound like a good deal for the taxpayer. The seeds of this mess reside in the tendering process itself which, from the very beginning, did not afford any real competitive tension or edge and here we are.
I ask the Taoiseach for reassurance on the issue of delivery because not alone is this plan very expensive but the really alarming caution presented to us in the documents last week is the question mark over capacity to deliver. I want the Taoiseach to be very explicit on this issue. Is he absolutely sure that rural broadband can be delivered?