The members of Waterford county Council have been challenged to explain why they voted to spend €1.5 million of taxpayers’ money building a broadband network in Dungarvan when there was already a privately owned broadband network in place in the Town.

The demand for an explanation comes from Stan Nangle, Tramore’s Green Party candidate for the County Council in the forthcoming elections.

Outraged over what he terms as a total waste of money, Mr Nangle recalls: “Casey Cablevision built Europe’s first Municipal Area Network (MAN) in Dungarvan in the late 1990s, using state-of-the-art fibre optic technology. Cablevision connections are provided free of charge to every home and business in Dungarvan Town and from Ballymacmague to Ballinroad. Yet the councillors, including those who are Tramore based, voted to use taxpayers’ money to build a duplicate system for which there was no demand”.

Mr Nangle argues that the money would have been better spent in Tramore which at the time did not have any broadband availability.

“At the time the councillors voted to spend this money on a second broadband network for Dungarvan there was no availability of broadband in Tramore. Even today many people in Tramore have difficulty getting access to high speed broadband in certain areas of the town”, he states.

Emphasising his accusation of wastage, he says the second Dungarvan MAN is operated on behalf of the Council by e-Net and has never been used.

And he elaborates: “Casey Cablevision provides a free connection to their MAN to every home owner and business in or near Dungarvan and offer a 20Mb broadband package as standard. e-Net, on the other hand, charge up to €3,000 per connection to the Council Network and do not provide any broadband services to consumers or businesses. It is no wonder that nobody is using this system five years later”.

Mr Nangle believes the councillors should come clean and explain why they wasted €1.5 million on a white elephant, despite warnings which he issued to some of their number as far back as 2003. “There must be some good reason why the councillors put this duplicate Network in Dungarvan when they could have put it in Tramore, and I think they should explain their decision to the people. They might also explain why they wasted taxpayer’s money trying to compete with a private business in Dungarvan when they could have obtained twice as much capacity in Tramore for the same money and would have provided the people of Tramore with a much needed service for which they were crying out”, he challenged.

See our special Election 2009 section for indepth profiles of local and EU candidates.