Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has said the government is abandoning rural Ireland by failing to live up to commitments on rolling out high speed broadband.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking as it was revealed Ireland ranked 21st out of 25 EU countries when it comes to broadband speed.
“In terms of broadband speed we are amongst the slowest in Europe, being outperformed by Slovenia, Slovakia, Estonia and Jersey,” she said.
“This is an issue the government has been aware of for more than five years and yet we still remain the bottom of the heap.
“Access to the internet, and in particular access to a high speed connection, is no longer a luxury or privilege, it is as important and basic as access to a telephone or electricity line.
“In rural Ireland it becomes even more crucial for students, businesses, farmers and those hoping to keep in touch with people forced abroad by a Government which has allowed entire swathes of the country to deteriorate to have quick and reliable access to the internet.
“It reduces rural isolation, gives people some sort of access to services that are being stripped from rural Ireland and provides opportunities for education and entrepreneurship.
“It’s long past time the Government stopped allowing us to lag behind the rest of Europe. If Ireland wants to be taken seriously as a modern nation then our Government must provide basic services to our citizens.”