Eir behaviour in rural broadband like that of ‘spoiled child’, says Ring
Minister accuses Eir of hypocrisy in half-price claims after leaving tender process
Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring: “[Eir] pulled out of the process and created a problem. I want them to stop now telling us that they could do it cheaper.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill
Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring has made a scathing attack of Eir’s intervention into the row over the National Broadband Plan, accusing the communications company of acting like “a spoiled child”.
Mr Ring accused Eir of hypocrisy for first of all withdrawing from the competition to supply fast broadband to the 540,000 unconnected homes in the country and then claiming it could have completed the project for half the price.
“Eir remind me of a spoiled child when they get a sweet. When they get the sweet, the child doesn’t want it and when you give the sweet to somebody else the child starts crying and wants the sweet back,” he said.
“And that’s the way they’re behaving now. I have to say that they haven’t held themselves in glory. I saw it down in rural Ireland, where they went down one road and they gave people broadband on the right and wouldn’t give it to them on their left.
“They had an opportunity. They were in the bidding game and they pulled out of the bid and they created part of the problem that we have now,” he said.
Mr Ring sharply criticised Eir for getting involved in the process after withdrawing, and after the preferred bidder was chosen.
“They pulled out of the process and created a problem. I want them to stop now telling us that they could do it cheaper. When they were in the process they pulled out from it,” he said.
Mr Ring also accused Fianna Fáil of being against broadband in rural Ireland.
“They’re speaking out of both sides of their mouth. They’re staying one thing in Dublin, to please the supporters they have in Dublin, and they’re saying something else in rural Ireland.
“I’m asking Micheál Martin and Fianna Fáil, are they going to support FG and the Government in the national broadband? We’re about to sign that contract. Are they going to support us on that contract? “
Mr Ring was speaking at Speedpak and Shamrock Rosettes in Coolock, Dublin, where he launched the State’s first social enterprise policy. The new policy will make it easier to establish companies whose purpose is not profit but social, societal or environmental gain.
He spoke of the example of Speedpak and Shamrock Rosettes which have provided training and employment to more than 1,150 people over the past two decades, bringing them from long-term unemployment into the workforce. Another social enterprise company which featured at the event was Mugshot, a coffee company which trains and employs former prisoners as baristas.