ICMSA President Pat McCormack has criticised recent comments by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar regarding the impact a Brexit bailout for farmers would have on the Rural Broadband Plan.
Mr. McCormack said that it was “very unfair and inappropriate” for the Taoiseach to link the two issues, which he said, were completely separate.
“The reality is that Brexit-related losses will impact on the current Budget in 2019 while the Rural Broadband Plan is a capital project and is highly unlikely to have a major impact on the 2018 Budget outcome.
“Indeed, it is disappointing that the Taoiseach decided to effectively play one rural issue against another, which is unfair and should not be a factor in relation to rural broadband.
“The reality is that Brexit will directly impact on farmers and it is completely appropriate that supports are made available from both the EU and our Government to support the sector during (what is) potentially a very disruptive period while the Rural Broadband Project is a hugely important infrastructure project which should be treated the very same way as the many Government funded capital projects in Dublin,” he said.
Mr. McCormack added that pitting one issue against another was not the way to proceed and that both issues needed to be addressed “fairly and on their merit”.