Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Damage to Telephone Kiosks.

Thursday, 9 May 1974

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 272 No. 8

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33.

Mr. Timmons: Information on Eugene Timmons  Zoom on Eugene Timmons  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the steps he proposes to take to curb the wholesale destruction of public telephone kiosks so as to ensure that all citizens have ready access to this vital means of communication in an emergency such as fire, accident or serious illness.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Dr. Cruise-O'Brien): Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Various measures have been taken to make public telephone kiosks more resistant to damage by vandals. These include the fitting of steel-plates to secure the coinboxes, the introduction of specially strengthened coinboxes and the inclusion in the mechanism of some kiosks of alarm devices. I fully share the Deputy's concern about the need to do everything practicable to curb wanton damage to telephone kiosks and will welcome any help or suggestions towards this end.

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews  Zoom on David Andrews  Can the Minister make any comment on a recent statement in the news media to the effect that a certain individual is being driven mad by the telephones in this city and county of Dublin and that he intends selling out, lock, stock and barrel, and going to Spain? It would appear the telephone service in this part of the country is driving people insane. Will the Minister make a comment on the particular case in question? He may have seen it in the paper.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  If the Deputy wishes to put down a question about this matter I shall be glad to answer it. It does not arise on this particular question. If Deputies are too lazy to put down questions I am certainly not going to answer questions which do not arise on those that are put down.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  There is arrogance [1275] for you. The most arrogant Minister that ever came into this House.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Considering the competition before we came in.

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews  Zoom on David Andrews  I referred specifically to ready access to this vital means of communication in an emergency such as fire, accident or serious illness. This is a very serious case where an individual intends selling out a very substantial business——

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Is this a question?

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews  Zoom on David Andrews  ——in south county Dublin. Would the Minister cease propagandising himself and get down to the telephone service which is driving a number of people insane?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Is this relevant to vandalism?

Acting Chairman (Mr. Tunney): Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  The question refers to public telephone kiosks. I would take it that the gentleman in question was not using that type of telephone.

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews  Zoom on David Andrews  He was probably driven out of the house in a rage, arrived at a telephone kiosk and could not communicate. This to-ing and froing between his private telephone and the telephone kiosk was driving him insane and as a consequence he finds himself on the way to Spain.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews  Zoom on David Andrews  We are sick to death of the Minister propagandising himself. We are bored with him. Put the telephone service in order.

Acting Chairman:  That does not arise on Question No. 33.

Mr. Daly: Information on Brendan Daly  Zoom on Brendan Daly  Can the Minister tell us how many kiosks were damaged during the past year?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I have not got the figure. I will try to get it for the Deputy. His is a serious question unlike the one which preceded it. I have not got an exact figure but many [1276] kiosks have been seriously damaged particularly in urban areas. I wish to take considerable note of the question put down by Deputy Timmons because I believe it was motivated by serious concern. I am sorry it was exploited in the way it was. There is a great deal of vandalism and we are very concerned about it. That vandalism has grown out of the great neglect of the urban problem which has prevailed over nearly two decades in the past. The sources of vandalism have to be looked at, not just the effects.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Florence Crowley  Zoom on Florence Crowley  The great pseudo liberal.

Mr. Andrews: Information on David Andrews  Zoom on David Andrews  Get down to the telephone service.

Mr. Daly: Information on Brendan Daly  Zoom on Brendan Daly  I have at least two questions per week down about telephone kiosks in the rural areas. Does the Minister consider that there is a very urgent need for telephone kiosks in the rural areas?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  There is relatively little vandalism in the rural areas. This question is concerned with vandalism and I am prepared to answer any questions which are properly put down to me. Vandalism is mainly an urban problem, although not exclusively.

Mr. Daly: Information on Brendan Daly  Zoom on Brendan Daly  We need telephone kiosks.

Acting Chairman:  The Chair is now moving on to Question No. 34.


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