Newly released figures prove that Ireland has fallen shockingly behind the rest of Europe in the digital age.

The figures highlight that the country is now at the bottom of the league in Europe when it comes to broadband speeds.

Figures from the OECD show that Ireland has dropped to 29th out of 30 advanced OECD economies for broadband speed, Ireland was 26th in September 2008.

“These figures don’t lie. Despite all the talk from government and the Green party in particular that we would become a new smart economy, we are appallingly behind the rest of Europe in Internet provision.

High speed broadband is to the modern world what electricity was in decades past. We simply cannot compete for jobs without it.

The Green Party are all talk and no action when it comes to creating a ‘smart’ economy and green jobs. These figures paint the reality, that we are woefully behind almost every other European country when it come to broadband.

We must remember that broadband is the foundation stone for any smart economy. Here in the Mid-West we cannot afford to be digitally isolated from the rest of the world. This failure of government to provide fast reliable broadband, is costing the region jobs at a time when we can least afford it.”

When it comes to the state of Irish communications infrastructure we barely register as an ‘advanced economy’. Ireland moved from 26th in the OECD in 2008 to 29th today in terms of broadband delivery. Other small European countries such as Portugal, the Netherlands and the Slovak Republic have seen their broadband speeds double or even triple in the same time.

Fine Gael remains the only party in Ireland to have drafted a credible plan to put Ireland into the top five of OECD countries when it comes to broadband speed. Our NewERA plan will restructure State owned communications infrastructure and supply new finance to invest in the widespread roll out of fibre optic broadband.

It will ensure regions such as the Mid-West can compete effectively for direct foreign investment and sustain and create new jobs. It will also help lay the foundation for a real ‘smart’ economy, not the PR spin we are getting from the Green Party.”