PAC to examine national broadband plan

The Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is set to examine the Government’s new national broadband plan tender process after it emerged just one bidder — a consortium involving businessman Denis O’Brien and others — now remains in the race.

PAC to examine national broadband plan

The Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is set to examine the Government’s new national broadband plan tender process after it emerged just one bidder — a consortium involving businessman Denis O’Brien and others — now remains in the race.

The committee agreed to the move after a request from PAC member and Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy at its latest meeting yesterday.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that Mr O’Brien’s company, Actavo, which was formerly known as Siteserv, has joined the only consortium left bidding for the plan.

The consortium, which is part of a group led by private investment company Granahan McCourt, is now almost certain to be handed the rights to develop Ireland’s national broadband plan.

While no concerns have been raised about the individual firms involved in the process, Ms Murphy said she would like the PAC to examine the tendering itself as “it is absolutely fair to point out that the entire tendering process has substantially changed since it first began”.

“We now find ourselves in a situation where some parties have exited the process, leaving only one party vying for the lucrative contract,” she said.

“Too often in Ireland we ask the pertinent questions after the fact and end up dealing with legacy issues, so this time I am asking that we address those questions before the contract is awarded.”

Meanwhile, yesterday’s PAC meeting also heard fresh questions raised over why certain garda stations, including Stepaside in Transport Minister Shane Ross’s Dublin-Rathdown constituency, were given the green light to re-open despite not appearing to be initially considered priorities by Garda management.

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane said that the move “doesn’t chime with Garda needs”, adding that “some people call it stroke politics”.

Ms Murphy said she would like to know how many garda stations have been sold — and their costs — ahead of an upcoming PAC meeting with garda management.

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