Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (184)

Michael McGrath

Question:

184. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the details of meetings he has attended since his appointment in relation to the national broadband plan; the date of each meeting; the persons in attendance; the subject matter of each meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45104/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) is a major infrastructural project. It aims to radically change the broadband landscape in this country, will involve State investment of up to €3bn, and will reach over half a million premises covered by the "Intervention Area".

As such, since my appointment as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in May 2016, and particularly over the last 12 months, I have had numerous meetings that would have included a discussion on the topic of the NBP, either formally or informally - such as on the margins of Cabinet or other meetings.

In particular, my Department and I have engaged on an ongoing basis with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, and officials of that Department, throughout the process in relation to the economic appraisal of the NBP, as well as the cost and affordability of the project. However, meetings have also taken place with the Taoiseach and his officials, with other Ministerial colleagues, including at Cabinet, and with Oireachtas Committees, amongst others.

Against this background, the Deputy will appreciate that it would be impossible for me to try to provide a comprehensive list of every time I discussed this major project at any meeting I attended since my appointment as Minister.