The lack of broadband in rural areas of Co Mayo was highlighted again yesterday at Child Talks - a conference for young people which was held in Dublin's City Hall.

12-year old Aoibheann Mangan from Hollymount, who was named joint European Digital Girl of the Year for 2018 - addressed the conference and outlined how she learned to code when she was 8 and has since created four award-winning websites.

However, she does not have access to rural broadband at home, and has to travel to the carpark of a Tesco store 18km away to access the internet.

Aoibheann told the conference that living in rural Ireland and getting access to rural broadband is a nightmare.

Aoibheann was one of seven speakers who relayed their experiences about growing up in Ireland, as part of the event to mark World Children's Day.

The Mayo student said she started learning to code from scratch, before moving on to web building and robotics, but said her experience in trying to access the internet made her feel like she was living in the Stone Age.

She said this was leading people to move to cities to find work, with the knock-on effect on housing demand and higher rents in cities, and the ultimate death of rural Ireland.

Meanwhile, an independent auditor's report into the tender process for the National Broadband Plan is expected to find that the process has NOT been fatally damaged by meetings between former Communications Minister Denis Naughton and the sole remaining bidder for the contract.

The report, by auditor Peter Smyth, has been delivered to government and is expected to be published in the coming days.

According to the Irish Times, it's understood that Mr Smyth will not recommend that the process should be abandoned.



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