There is not much point in trying to promote rural Ireland if something as basic as a decent broadband service is not in place, according to Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.

He said that “it is extremely disappointing to learn this week that the Rural Broadband scheme will not be in place until 2021 or 2022”.

The Roscommon-Galway TD said that when he attended the recent talks on Government formation he and other TDs were told that the Rural Broadband contract would be ready by May or June 2017.

“We now have a local Minister and he should be able to ensure that this contract is started and completed as soon as possible.”

The Government and the Ministers responsible will have to stand up to the plate on this issue and deliver this service.

Fitzmaurice said that people in rural areas cannot afford to be waiting five or six years for it to become a reality.

“All this week on the Irish Independent we have seen cases of business people and farmers all over rural Ireland who are struggling to do their work because of the lack of a proper broadband service.

“How can any business be attracted to a rural part of Ireland when there is no proper broadband service?

“Minister Humphreys admits today that 750,000 people are living in broadband black spots which is a shocking figure.”

Fitzmaurice said that the Government will have to make this issue one of their top priorities and we have to find a way of fast tracking the roll-out of a proper service to all areas.

“The revival of rural Ireland cannot take place until that is achieved,” he said.