‘It’s like rural Ireland has been rubbed off the map’

The couple behind Goat Ireland in Co. Galway have said broadband services in so many parts of the country are so poor that it is like rural Ireland has been “rubbed off the map.”

Dubliner Ami Madden and her partner, Paul Davis, produce goat meat on their rented 32ac farm in Dunmore. Having started out almost four years ago with sheep, they now specialise in goat rearing. “We have about 150 goats here at present – some for meat, some pedigree Boers and some Boer bucks,” said Ami.

“From next week on we will be taking in the baby 50/50 breeds from the dairies.

By the end of March there could be another 400 young goats here. We have been taking orders from people interested in rearing goat as part of a producers’ group. So, a number of them will leave for other farms.

The couple continue to keep some sheep that they sell directly to customers as mutton and lamb. It’s a busy lifestyle but their broadband simply isn’t keeping up.

“We have the same issues as many rural homes. The main line is too old and travels 7km from the exchange before it gets to us – so we get no better than old dial-up speeds.”

The couple have tried various broadband providers with little success and now have satellite – which they said is of very restricted use and often runs out before the end of the billing periods.

This leaves us in limbo. Like any small business, we will struggle without any help from the Government. We have to find the best solution for us, that we know will be far from perfect, and pay through the nose for it – just another kick at the small man.

The couple’s mobile coverage is also poor, they said. “So even using mobile data is extremely difficult. We end up sitting in the car when we go shopping to catch up on emails and the likes.

“We enjoy using social media to keep in touch with our customers and build our brand. But we can do nothing in real time because we have to go looking for a signal,” Ami said.

“It’s like rural Ireland has been rubbed off the map when it comes to broadband, mobile reception, public transport and promotion of rural enterprises.

We often feel we are a second thought compared to the services provided in cities. Like always, we will just have to wait.

Meanwhile, anyone interested in further details on the goat meat producers’ group should contact Cian Condon in Teagasc or Ami and Paul by email: [email protected]