Belfast Telegraph

Dail suspended to allow time to read broadband documents

The decision was made to postpone Leaders’ Questions over the Government’s delay in publishing the information.

The Dail was suspended to allow TDs time to read broadband documents (Yui Mok/PA)
The Dail was suspended to allow TDs time to read broadband documents (Yui Mok/PA)

The Dail has been suspended by 90 minutes to allow TDs time to read broadband documents issued minutes before the house resumed after its Easter break.

The decision was made to postpone Leaders’ Questions over the Government’s delay in publishing the information.

In the memo, the secretary general at the Department of Public Expenditure warned that the National Broadband Plan, approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday, posed great financial risks.

It strikes me this is a very cynical way for the government to do its business Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Fein leader

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said the Dail had been treated “very shabbily” as the documentation had been promised early on Wednesday but it was published five minutes before Leaders’ Question was scheduled to begin.

“The documentation is of the most grave and serious kind relating to correspondence from the Department of Public Expenditure in relation to the national broadband plan and the unprecedented risks to the State in the words of the secretary general of that department,” he said.

“No one expected this type of approach,” Mr Martin said as he sought the adjournment.

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin said it was promised that the house would do things differently after the debacle of the national children’s hospital.

“This is just not a good enough way of dealing with these matters,” he said.

Mr Howlin said TDs needed time to be able to analyse the information in detail before having questions ready.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said: “It strikes me this is a very cynical way for the government to do its business. I don’t know what, if any, explanation there is for publication of these documents five minutes out from Leaders’ Questions.”

She added that it should be the Taoiseach, not Communications Minister Richard Bruton, who should be taking questions on the matter.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath described the move as “nothing short of an election gimmick”.

“Rural people deserve broadband and they’re not getting it and they won’t get it with this plan and you’re waiting hour by hour putting it off to hide the deceit and the deception that you want to hide,” he said.

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy told the Dail: “I too believe that it’s a cynical move to dump this information at this point in the day when it’s known there’s going to be Leaders’ Questions.

“I also think the timing of the announcement has been quite cynical as well.”

PA

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