End of the line

9 June 2007 11:16 am

IT will take the benefit of hindsight to fully appreciate the role played by IrelandOffline in its six-year existence.

But today as the organisation winds up, those who have been involved shouldn't wait for history.

With scant resources, other than dedication, IrelandOffline dragged this country screaming and kicking into the 21st century.

Broadband is now widely accepted as a crucial component of future economic and social well-being.

The days of trying to convince people of that reality are well and truly over. Digital and network communication technologies are no longer viewed as transient toys.

Broadband roll-out joins a sorry list of previous technologies which suffered at the hands of incompetent governments.

"The provision of broadband services is a matter for the private sector", was the parrot-like refrain from the outgoing minister, as if repetition would make it so.snail logo

Educating on the necessity of broadband was one of the big successes for IrelandOffline (there were others). Sometimes it was like rolling water up a hill. When I first started to write about the lack of broadband, the response varied on the 'so what?' theme.

Thankfully, there are enough well-informed people around now to keep the issue front and center.

The unwinding of IrelandOffline definitely marks the end of something alright. The end of buck-passing, finger-pointing and hand-washing.

IrelandOffline's lasting achievement though, was to poke a sharp stick into cosy corners, where those with power and responsibility were hiding, occasionally emerging to offer excuses when their comfort was disturbed.

There are no more hiding places. There can be no more excuses.

For this, all those involved in IrelandOffline over the years deserve our enduring gratitude.

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