Deputy Noel Coonan has said that rural Ireland is alive but it is changing. One of those changes is the demand for next generation broadband.
“Fine Gael believes that the delivery of next generation broadband will enable businesses in key sectors like agriculture and agri-food and tourism to drive the recovery throughout Ireland.
“Fine Gael wants to see dedicated funding put in place to ensure universal next generation broadband coverage is fully delivered by 2020,” said Deputy Coonan.
“Other parties talk up the demise of rural Ireland. Fine Gael doesn’t buy into this. We want to ‘change the conversation’ about rural Ireland.
“Rural Ireland is alive and we want to support and celebrate all that is good about rural Ireland by putting a spotlight on the great spirit, drive and passion of rural communities all over the country.
“Under this Fine Gael led government, the agricultural and tourism sectors are booming. Almost 200,000 people are employed in tourism and 8,000 additional jobs will be created in 2015.
Deputy Coonan continued: “This Government has overseen a 40% increase in food and beverage exports since 2009, supporting 170,000 jobs many of which are in rural areas.
“Fine Gael entered government at a time when public services were under severe pressure due to the economic crash. The impact of various cuts since 2008 is still being felt throughout the country. Fine Gael is in the process of reshaping local services to adapt to the demands and requirements of society.
“We are not in the business of simply throwing money at problems in the way Fianna Fáil did. Reforming the way we do things is as important as the money. Our campaign is about action, we are seeking a significant financial commitment to back up the National Broadband Plan.
“Fine Gael in Government will ensure that every job lost in the economic crash is replaced by 2018. More jobs mean less tax for people working and more revenue to provide better services,” concluded Deputy Coonan.