Thursday, 9 May 1974
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. 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): 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: 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: 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. 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——
Mr. 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.
Dr. 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  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.
Dr. 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.
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