Eir’s Chief Executive has said the company withdrew from tendering process for the National Broadband Plan because the process became increasingly onerous and the business case did not stack up.

Richard Moat said Eir entered the process with the full intention of winning all, or as much of it as it could.

He said it will provide full support to the eventual winner because the company is fully supportive of the policy to provide high-speed broadband to everyone in Ireland.

Mr Moat said Eir was still rolling out to 300,000 homes as part of its Irish investment.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Moat said the Government’s aim is achievable and he regretted that Eir would not be part of that process.

"We went into this tender, three years ago, with the full intention of winning all, or as much of it, as we possibly could," he said.

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"Over time, it's become increasingly complex and onerous. For example, we would have been required to set up a completely duplicate wholesale division. We will provide full support to the eventual winner."

Mr Moat denied that a change of ownership at the company played a part in the decision-making process.

Eir pulls out of tender for National Broadband Plan

This afternoon the Tánaiste has said the Government will see the project through.

Simon Coveney said that like any competitive process, commercial operators pull out if it does not suit them.

He said there is another operator that is "adamant regarding it's commitment" to the process.

Mr Coveney insisted that the process would be concluded by September.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications Timmy Dooley said the tendering process for the National Broadband Plan is overly complex and has effectively collapsed.

Speaking on the same programme, Mr Dooley said it was clear that Eir and SIRO, which had already pulled out of the process, did not see a business plan that would work for them.

He added that this raised serious questions about the viability of the plan and the Government’s seriousness about it.

"Clearly Eir didn't see a business model that would work for them. They didn't see a return on the investment that they'd have to make," said Mr Dooley.

"It seems to me that SIRO, made up of the ESB and Vodafone, came to the same conclusion.

"So if it wasn't going to meet their needs and they didn't stay in the race, the question is now can the Government convince the remaining party to roll out the service."

Enet is now the only remaining bidder and it said in statement yesterday that it and its consortium partner, SSE, are continuing to engage with the Department of Communications on the plan.

Mr Dooley said it was time to bring in a panel of independent experts to review the situation and see if it is possible to get Eir and SIRO back in the tendering process.

Steve Fitzpatrick, General Secretary of the Communications’ Workers Union, said it should be no surprise that there have been negative, long term consequences from the decision to sell off the national communications network to private interests. 

"The company has been the victim of repeated capital and asset stripping by a succession of short term owners which left the country with a very weak and under-invested communications infrastructure," Mr Fitzpatrick said. "It is only in recent years that the company has been allowed rebuild its networks and provide the services that customers and the country demands."

He said it is critical that the National Broadband Plan starts as quickly as possible, with the continued involvement of Eir at a networks and wholesale level.