Labour seeks clarity over Granahan-McCourt investment in broadband plan

Labour is demanding to know what the consortium leading the €5bn broadband project will put up front as the party warned that a tribunal may rake over the costs and deal for the project in a decade.

The Government has agreed to ask the Granahan-McCourt consortium, the preferred and only bidder for the project, if details can be published about its investment for the broadband plan.

This comes after confusion and criticism over the consortium's investment, which Agriculture Minister Micheal Creed said last week could be as low as €200m for a €3bn State payment for the project.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin said today: “What is Granahan-McCourt bringing to the table? Why are they getting this incredible deal? Micheal Creed let the cat out of the bag.”

Mr Howlin wants the State to take control of the project and says there is nothing “commercially sensitive” preventing the Government releasing the figures about the Granahan-McCourt bid.

Mr Howlin said Leo Varadkar is “beginning to sound like [Donald] Trump every day”, after the Taoiseach in recent days claimed that the Opposition calls for the State to run the plan is a “fake" promise.

The Labour leader also suggested that the broadband debacle will be the subject of a tribunal in a decade's time.

Labour wants the Government to set up a State-owned broadband company that would own the infrastructure instead of paying €3bn for another business to own it after 25 years, as is envisaged under the current plan.

Mr Howlin said the State could also access funds from the European Investment Bank to help finance the project and that it would eventually recoup the billions of euro put into the plan.

Communications Minister, Richard Bruton, is set to take questions on the plan and bid later today at the Oireachtas Communications Committee.

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