Sinn Féin calls for ESB to deliver broadband plan

Sinn Féin will move a Dáil motion calling on the ESB to be appointed to deliver the National Broadband Plan.

The party says the plan will not deliver high-speed broadband to everyone who needs it.

Both Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil have hit out at the National Broadband Plan saying it is flawed and they would do it differently.

Now Sinn Féin will put down a Dáil motion calling for the ESB to be appointed to deliver the contract.

The government has said this would run afoul of state aid rules and a new procurement process is needed.

But this motion is more designed to put pressure on Fianna Fáil.

Micheál Martin has said he would like an agency set up within the ESB to deliver the plan and now will have to either back the Sinn Féin motion going against the government or row back on his previous idea.

It means the row over the way forward for the broadband plan will continue into next week, as the local and European elections loom.

Social Housing builds will not be affected by the increased cost of the National Broadband Plan, according to the Housing Minister.

Eoghan Murphy says the money for housing is ring-fenced and won't be touched.

It comes amid concerns from the Department of Public Expenditure that some projects would have to be delayed in order to fund the broadband plan.

Minister Murphy says that won't be the case for housing.

"Well it's not an either/or because we have a ringfence budget for Rebuilding Ireland of over €6bn and the challenges we face in delivering more housing more quickly isn't about money," he said.

"It's about making sure that we're building the houses in the right places, that we're getting the right mix of development and that we're thinking about things like climate change into the future as we build and make sure that we're building in the right places.

"It's also about capacity in the construction sector."

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