Fine Gael TD Joe Carey has confirmed that the Government is to invest €89 million to deliver high-speed broadband to 22,342 homes and businesses throughout County Clare.

Speaking as the Government announced the biggest initiative for rural Ireland since electrification, Deputy Carey said it was a landmark day for Clare and for rural Ireland generally. 

The National Broadband Plan will deliver high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises nationally, including 100,000 businesses and farms, and over 600 schools, where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service. 

“The work will start immediately, with roll-out of broadband within eight weeks of today’s contract signing. Over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within four years,” Deputy Carey explained.

“As an initial step, the Government has published a list of approximately 300 community centres, schools, library hubs and local GAA halls in every county that will be connected to high speed broadband next year.

These include ten public buildings in Clare where local communities  will get free public access to high speed broadband over the next twelve months.

The Clare locations are: Caherconnell Stone Fort, Loop Head Lighthouse, Cree Community Centre, Ennistymon National School, Halla Eoin Kilbaha, Kilmurry McMahon National School, Loughgraney Playschool, Michael Cusack Visitor Centre, Shragh National School and Stonehall National School.

“This means rural communities in Clare will not be left behind. All of rural Ireland will get the same access to opportunities offered by high-speed broadband as those in urban areas. The ultimate goal is to deliver high-speed broadband to homes and businesses all across the country. 

“The delivery of high-speed broadband will be hugely beneficial to economic development and job creation in Clare. It will open up a whole range of possibilities including flexible and remote working; smart health with online GP and nursing services and medical monitoring; cloud-based services and connected devices; smart farming opportunities; digital learning; and reliable electronic payments and bookings for businesses.

“We want to ensure that people who wish to live and work in Clare are supported in doing so. It is so crucial for balanced regional development that everyone in the country does not have to go to Dublin to work, study or start an enterprise, Deputy Carey added.

“This is quite simply the biggest investment in rural Ireland since rural electrification.We can have more people working from home, a better work-life balance, fewer car journeys, and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. We can connect better with the world, with family members, with business, with new ideas and new ways of doing things,” Deputy Carey concluded.