€275 million will be invested in broadband

Acknowledging the role technology has to play in supporting our local communities and businesses, I welcome the news that €275 million will be invested in broadband. This means that every house in the country will have access to 30 megabit broadband by the end of 2020.

The funding for broadband was announced today as part of the Government’s six year Capital Investment Plan.This will enable the overall strategy to restore all the jobs lost in the recession by 2018 and to get unemployment down to 6% by 2020. The provision of high quality broadband for every house and business in Kildare South and around the rest of the country will only fuel this recovery.

We are now the fastest growing economy in Europe and we are creating over 1,300 new jobs a week, yet we know that not every family has felt the benefits yet. This investment plan will help spread the recovery around the country so that every person and family can benefit and enjoy a better quality of life.

I am particularly pleased with this plan, the contents of which are normally solely focused on the construction of schools, roads and health facilities. An additional €100m is to be provided across 2019 and 2020 to fund the relocation of the remaining two Dublin Maternity Hospitals, the Coombe to St. James and the Rotunda to Blanchardstown. An additional €300m is proposed to support upgrading residential facilities around the country to meet HIQA standards. These are part of the Continuing Care Programme which provides long-term residential care facilities for the elderly and disabled, including people with intellectual disabilities. The proposed allocation will allow for essential works to be carried out on these facilities to meet HIQA compliance. It is also proposed to invest further in healthcare via phase III of the PPP programme totaling approximately €150m to construct the Central Mental Hospital.

 All of these are vital and hugely important developments. This additional focus on broadband provision this year also confirms the Government’s acknowledgement of the role technology has to play in supporting our local communities and businesses.