Macra na Feirme has issued a statement commending the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton, for “moving the important initiative forward”.

The rural youth organisation’s statement comes following the announcement that the National Broadband Plan is set to be rolled out within the next eight weeks, after the Government formally signed the contract for the programme this morning, Tuesday, November 19.

The statement outlined that rural broadband has been “a major priority” of Macra na Feirme for many years.

Commenting on the signing of the contract, Macra na Feirme’s national president Thomas Duffy said: “We have been urging government for a number of years to move forward with the National Broadband Plan.

This is long overdue but extremely welcome. Hopefully this brings the rapid improvements that we need to ensure rural Ireland does not get left behind in the new IT-based economy.

“The contract for delivery signals the beginning of building the long overdue network that will help rural communities flourish.”

Concluding, Duffy noted: “We hope the Government will commit to ensuring that this important project commences as soon as possible and is delivered on schedule.”

Shane Quigley, chair of the Macra Rural Youth Committee added: “Rural Ireland has been left in the dark ages for too long when it comes to broadband.

“We are pleased that it is moving forward, the key in this announcement is ensuring that it gets delivered on time and within budget,” he concluded.