Longford Dáil hopefuls Micheál Carrigy and Joe Flaherty in sharp exchange over broadband plan

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

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liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Longford Dáil hopefuls Micheál Carrigy  and Joe Flaherty in sharp exchange over broadband plan

Longford Dáil hopefuls Micheál Carrigy and Joe Flaherty in sharp exchange over broadband plan

Dáil hopefuls Micheál Carrigy and Joe Flaherty traded political blows last week amid talk of a snap general election.

The respective Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil candidates took aim at one another as local politicians debated Cllr Carrigy's motion which called for the local authority to support the Government's National Broadband Plan.

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The Ballinalee postmaster said the promise of €34m being invested into Longford was not to be sneezed at.

“It's a huge investment in rural Ireland and the biggest since rural electrification back in the 60s,” said Cllr Carrigy.

Fine Gael group leader Cllr Murray agreed, stating now was the time to show support for an initiative which had been talked about for the past 20 years previously.

Independent Cllr Mark Casey was not as confident, however, as he questioned its timing in light of renewed speculation over a possible general election.

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“When we have it we will believe it,” said Cllr Casey.

That prompted Cllr Paraic Brady to call into question a week long trade mission Cllr Casey and four other council officials had undertaken to south America in 2015 to try and engineer inward investment into Longford.

“A bit like the jobs in Mexico,” shouted Cllr Brady.

For Cllr Flaherty, however, there were many lingering questions still associated with the Government's high speed internet blueprint.

In reiterating the need for access to broadband for homes and businesses, Cllr Flaherty said its finer details were indicative of the Government's “fascination with PR and self vilification”.

He said: “It's a plan the Government has cobbled together.”

Sitting back in his chair at the Council's top table, Cllr Carrigy leaned forward, stating: “So, are you supporting it or are you against it?”

His political rival, despite a number of councillors struggling to hold back their laughter, failed to see the funny side.

“I know you are fixated on everything I say,” he snapped back at Cllr Carrigy, while highlighting his previous comments over the plan's prospective implementation.

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