The Dáil returned this week following the Easter break. On Tuesday, I continued my meetings with the Office of Parliamentary Legal Advisers (OPLA) as we work on progressing a Private Members’ Bill. On Wednesday morning, I attended a briefing in Buswells by the Housing Alliance, which is a collaboration of six of the biggest Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) in Ireland comprising Clúid Housing, Circle Voluntary Housing Association, Co-operative Housing Ireland, Oaklee Housing, Respond and Tuath Housing. The Alliance is calling for more social and affordable homes and for AHB’s to be permitted to provide affordable mortgages for young families.
I believe all citizens of our republic, whatever their location, should have access to the same level of public services, and that includes broadband facilities. As we heard earlier, it is clear that if the Fianna Fáil Government under Bertie Ahern and Mary Harney had not privatised Eircom 20 years ago in 1999, a State-wide roll-out of Internet infrastructure would probably have been complete by now and reasonable speeds, at least, would be available. We have to remember that the national electricity grid was only completed around 1964, although the ESB was founded in 1929.