Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Ceisteanna (434)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

434. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if he has had discussions with the Department of Finance regarding the national broadband plan; if the anticipated cost will lead to a reduction of funding for other rural programmes such as the community enhancement scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22811/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government recently announced its intention to award the contract for the roll out of high-speed broadband in the State Intervention Area to a preferred bidder following a detailed tendering process. The question of securing funding for the National Broadband Plan (NBP) is a matter for the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

I do not anticipate that investment in the NBP will result in a reduction in funding for other rural programmes. In fact, the roll out of high speed broadband will complement the commitment in the National Development Plan to invest €1 billion over the next ten years through the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.

Funding for rural programmes in my Department’s Vote this year amounts to €138.371 million. This compares to a provision of €93.384 million for rural programmes in 2018.

The 48% increase year-on-year in my Department’s Vote shows the Government's clear commitment to supporting rural communities. This commitment is further enhanced by the recent announcement regarding the NBP.