Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Telephone Service.

Tuesday, 13 May 1975

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 280 No. 10

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5.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when a telephone applied for in February, 1973 by a person (name supplied) in County Galway will be installed.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Dr. Cruise-O'Brien): Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  It is hoped to instal a telephone for the person named by the end of this year.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Has the Minister any explanation for the long delay?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  The provision of service for the gentleman in question involves the erection of half a mile of a new pole route. Attention to the application was not possible because of the heavy volume of urgent engineering work on hands in the general area of which the Deputy is aware. The number of deferred abnormal line work orders in County Galway is approximately 600. Arrears are being overtaken as fast as possible and it is the intention, as far as practicable, to resume clearance of abnormal line work orders in the latter part of this year. It is expected that this case, which is not greatly in excess of the normal limits, will be dealt with by the end of the year.

[1605]Mr. Wilson: Information on John P. Wilson  Zoom on John P. Wilson  Can the Minister say how many poles there are to the half mile?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I cannot say.

6.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he has received a request from Galway County Council regarding the provision of a public telephone kiosk at Doonreaghan, Cashel, Connemara, County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  A request accordingly has been received from the council. Kiosks are not, however, being provided in places such as Doonreaghan where there is no post office.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Has the Minister communicated that information to the council?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  There has been no communication with the local authority but a kiosk could be provided there under guarantee. I am prepared to convey that information to the local authority if the Deputy wishes.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Did the Minister state that he had received a request from the local authority?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I am sorry, I did say that. The local authority did not offer to provide a guarantee.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  If the request was received, why was it not replied to?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I will look into the matter. I am not aware that it was not replied to.

7.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor  Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will indicate the number and location of sub-post offices in County Laois at which call offices have not, so far, been replaced by kiosks; the number and location of offices outside which kiosks will be provided in 1975; and if he will arrange for the provision of such kiosks at Ballaghmore and Kilbricken, County Laois, in the near future.

[1606]Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Call offices in three sub-post offices in County Laois, viz: Ballaghmore, Kilbricken and Oldtown, have not been replaced by kiosks. The use made of the call office telephones is not sufficient to justify provision of kiosks at any of these places in 1975.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor  Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor  Is the Minister indicating that the pattern that has been created of erecting telephone kiosks outside call offices of this nature as far as Laois is concerned is being discontinued?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  In my reply I stated that the use made of the call office telephones is not sufficient to justify provision of kiosks at any of these places in 1975.

Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor  Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor  Is the Minister aware that one of the reasons telephones in call office stations are not sufficiently used is the lack of privacy? Has the Minister not experience of the fact that where telephone kiosks are erected outside the post office there is a sizeable increase in their usage?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I have no data as to such a sizeable increase but I will make an inquiry as to whether, in fact—I have also heard this claim made—if a kiosk is provided because of the privacy the use goes up. I will have some figures for that and I will provide them to the Deputy if he puts down a general question on that matter.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Would the Minister not consider the use of a telephone kiosk outside a post office would be greater than those in post offices in view of the fact that the post office is not open for public use for 24 hours of the day while a kiosk would be? Does he agree that the public are denied access to the telephone kiosk when it is in the post office?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I should like to put on record the creditable receipts of these call offices for the year ending 31st March: Ballaghmore, £22.19p: Kilbricken, £38.74p and Oldtown, £28.19p. It is clear that those figures would not warrant erecting a kiosk.

[1607]Mr. Lalor: Information on Patrick J. Lalor  Zoom on Patrick J. Lalor  Would the Minister care to give the takings in other offices prior to the installation of kiosks outside and the takings in such kiosks?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The question deals with certain towns.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I have answered the Deputy's question throughly but if he wishes to put down a general question requesting such information I will be happy to provide it.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Is the Minister aware that one of the calls in question could have saved the life of a pregnant woman?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I am not so aware.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Does the Minister not consider that important?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I did not say I did not consider it important; I said I was not aware of this.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Is filthy lucre the only need for such facilities?

8.

Mr. Power: Information on Patrick Power  Zoom on Patrick Power  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he proposes to erect telephone kiosks at Gurteenoona, Monasterevan and Lullymore, Rathangan, County Kildare.

9.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will consider the erection of a public telephone kiosk at Cloughduv, County Cork.

10.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will arrange for the provision of a public telephone kiosk at Kilruane, Nenagh, County Tipperary.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 8, 9 and 10 together.

Kiosks are not being provided in rural areas such as Gurteenoona, Lullymore, Cloughduv and Kilruane, where there are no post offices.

Mr. Power: Information on Patrick Power  Zoom on Patrick Power  Is it departmental policy that the more out-of-the-way and rural an area is the less likelihood [1608] there is of a telephone kiosk being erected there?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  As the House is aware, there is a question of demand and this means that kiosks are provided first in areas where there is demand for that service and only later in areas where there is very little demand. Of course, the same consideration applies to them—of which the House is now well aware— of provision under local authority guarantee and that possibility might be considered by those interested.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Is the Minister of opinion that local authorities should now undertake the provision of services which up to now were the responsibility of his Department?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  No. It is not for me to indicate what local authorities should or should not do. I am merely indicating that the possibility exists. My Department has to maintain certain priorities and they are the same priorities as have always been maintained, at least for many years.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  Does the Minister acknowledge the social needs of many areas which have not a sub-post office? Is it the policy of his Department that if there is no post office in a village, even if it is a big one, no kiosk will be erected in spite of the obvious needs of the community? Are the priorities in the Minister's Department financial ones, some of them not soundly based? Are the social needs of our communities being completely disregarded by the Minister?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  That is a large and argumentative question and I do not think I should be called upon to enter into it in the wake of questions such as are before the House.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  Would the Minister agree that the priority scheme operated by his Department works to the detriment of parts of rural Ireland?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I would not agree.

[1609]Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  Will the Minister state if it is the policy of his Department to add to the burden of the ratepayers in having county councils provide telephone kiosks at the expense of ratepayers when the emphasis should be on abolishing rates?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I am in some difficulty when argumentative general questions are put as supplementaries to quite precise questions. I am not attempting to tell the Ceann Comhairle his job but I am saying I do not propose to answer that type of question.

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  Will the Minister explain what he meant by a guarantee regarding the provision of telephone kiosks?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I have already told the Deputy that I have allowed a lot of latitude on this question. I am calling Question No. 11.

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  The Minister mentioned this in his reply. Will he tell the House what he meant by a guarantee?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  It is open to the Deputy to put down these questions. If Deputies will not put down their own questions but will coast along on other questions——

Mr. C. Murphy: Information on Ciaran P. Murphy  Zoom on Ciaran P. Murphy  If county councils are obliged to subsidise telephone kiosks it is the ratepayers who must pay.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I have called Question No. 11.

11.

Mr. Brosnan: Information on Seán Brosnan  Zoom on Seán Brosnan  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will arrange for the provision of a telephone kiosk at Raheen Park, Youghal, County Cork.

12.

Mr. Brosnan: Information on Seán Brosnan  Zoom on Seán Brosnan  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will arrange for the provision of a telephone kiosk at Dermot Hurley estate, Youghal, County Cork.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to take Questions Nos. 11 and 12 together.

[1610] Arrangements are already in train to provide a telephone kiosk at Dermot Hurley estate to cater for the combined Dermot Hurley and Raheen Park areas. It is hoped to have the kiosk in service within the next month or so.

Mr. Hegarty: Information on Patrick Hegarty  Zoom on Patrick Hegarty  I should like to compliment the Minister on the speed with which the telephone kiosk was provided at the Dermot Hurley estate as a result of representations received by him. I should like to ask him if he would reconsider the decision with regard to the Raheen Park-Sarsfield Terrace area which is a considerable distance from the Dermot Hurley estate?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  It is my Department's opinion that the provision of more than one kiosk would not be justified in the Dermot Hurley estate-Raheen Park area at present. However, if the use of that kiosk is such as to warrant it, my Department will be prepared to consider an additional kiosk.

13.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will consider the erection of a public telephone kiosk at Killumney, Ovens, County Cork.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Arrangements are already in train to provide a telephone kiosk to serve the Killumney/ Ovens area.

Mr. G. Fitzgerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I should like to compliment the Minister. Will he tell us where the kiosk will be located and when it will be erected?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  The location is to be in the Knockinamore vicinity. It will be erected in about four months provided there is no undue delay in obtaining a suitable site and approval of the local authority.

14.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will comply with the wishes of the local community at Moycullen, County Galway by arranging for the erection of the new telephone kiosk on the site adjacent to the Garda barracks there.

[1611]15.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when the public telephone kiosk requested by Galway County Council will be erected at Moycullen.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 14 and 15 together.

It is hoped to provide a telephone kiosk at Moycullen in the vicinity of the Garda station within the next three to four months provided the necessary consents are obtained without delay.

16.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the number of telephone kiosks provided under the guarantee scheme; and the location of each one.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Twenty-one kiosks have been provided under guarantee. As the information regarding locations is in the form of a tabular statement I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to circulate it with the Official Report.

Following is the statement:

Twenty-one telephone kiosks have been provided under local authority guarantee at the following locations:

Co. Carlow: Ballinabranna, Bilboa, Kilbride, Palatine and Rathanna/ Killedmond. Co. Cork: East Hill, Cobh. Co. Kerry: Feoghanagh. Co. Kildare: Johnstown, Kilkea and St. Mary's Park, Leixlip. Co. Laois: Ballyadams, Killeshin, Killesmeestia, Knockaroo, Raheen and Spink. Co. Offaly: Roscomroe. Co. Waterford: Ferrybank, Waterford and Strand Street, Tramore. Co. Wicklow: Askinagap and Fassaroe Park, Bray.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  Will the Minister state if those kiosks were provided throughout the country?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  The 21 kiosks were provided in many parts of the country. Under the heading of local authorities guaranteeing the kiosks, I see mentioned Carlow County Council, Cobh UDC, Offaly County Council, Waterford Corporation and Waterford County Council, Wicklow [1612] County Council, Bray UDC, Kerry County Council, Kildare County Council and Laois County Council. Agreements have been signed with local authorities for the provision of kiosks under guarantee at a further 24 locations. The local authorities concerned include Carlow, Donegal, Laois, Tipperary (South Riding), Westmeath and Wicklow County Councils. Deputies will realise that the kiosks have been provided throughout the country. The guarantee system has expanded significantly since January, 1974. Eleven guaranteed kiosks have been provided since then as compared with ten in the period 1953 to the end of 1973.

Mr. Power: Information on Patrick Power  Zoom on Patrick Power  Will the Minister state if any of the kiosks have been long enough erected to have figures where the county council concerned were called on to fulfil the guarantees?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  This is an extension of the question. The question deals with the number of kiosks.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I will look into the matter.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  Will the Minister state if the guarantee scheme has in any way slowed down the progress of the Department's own scheme?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I see no reason to believe that it has but I can check the figures for the Deputy.

17.

Mr. Walsh: Information on Seán Walsh  Zoom on Seán Walsh  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will consider the provision of a telephone kiosk at Kilnamanagh estate, Green hills Road, Tallaght, County Dublin.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Arrangements have already been made to provide a kiosk to serve Kilnamanagh estate. It is hoped to have the kiosk in service within the next two months.

18.

Mr. Callanan: Information on John Callanan  Zoom on John Callanan  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs why a telephone has not been installed for a person (name supplied) in County Galway who had a telephone at his previous address.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Service will be provided by temporary means within [1613] the next month. Provision of the line in the normal way involves extensive construction work which cannot be undertaken for a considerable time because of arrears of other work.

Mr. Callanan: Information on John Callanan  Zoom on John Callanan  I am glad to hear that service will be provided within the next month because the person concerned received a letter from the Department stating it would take 12 months. I take it that the time mentioned by the Minister is correct?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  To provide a service in the normal way, which involves approximately two miles of line work, would mean that the person would be very low down on the priority list. However, an arrangement was worked out whereby he could share a line—he has agreed to this— and he has been quoted terms for the shared line. If the terms are acceptable, service will be provided within about two weeks.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  Would the Minister not agree that it is better to put down a parliamentary question in connection with these matters?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I have no objection to any Deputy putting down a parliamentary question. What I find impossible to answer are general questions attached to specific questions.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  We will put down 100 specific questions next week.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Very well.

19.

Mr. Walsh: Information on Seán Walsh  Zoom on Seán Walsh  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when a telephone service will be provided for applicants in the Greenhills and Templeogue areas of County Dublin.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  It is expected that telephone service will be provided before the end of this year for about 300 of the 700 waiting applicants in the estates in the Greenhills and Templeogue areas referred to by the Deputy. It is hoped to meet the balance of the orders during 1976.

20.

Mr. Walsh: Information on Seán Walsh  Zoom on Seán Walsh  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when a telephone service will be provided for [1614] applicants in the Firhouse and Knocklyon areas of County Dublin.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  It is expected that service will be provided before the end of this year for about 170 of the 350 waiting applicants in the Firhouse/Knocklyon areas. It is hoped to meet the balance of the orders during 1976.

21.

Mr. Walsh: Information on Seán Walsh  Zoom on Seán Walsh  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when a telephone will be provided for a chemist shop in Dublin (information supplied).

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Within two months.

22.

Mr. Calleary: Information on Seán Calleary  Zoom on Seán Calleary  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when a telephone will be installed for a person (name supplied) in County Mayo.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  It is unlikely that a telephone will be installed until next year. Additional equipment is required in the exchange as well as laying of underground cable.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  What is the situation when it is the case that additional equipment is required in the post office concerned?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  That is a separate question. Question No. 22 relates to the installation of a telephone for a person named.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  The Minister has stated that a telephone will not be provided until next year because additional equipment is required in the exchange. Arising from that reply, I am asking the Minister how long it will take for the provision of the additional equipment.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  The Chair has ruled that is a separate question.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  Will the Minister give me that information?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy is raising a general question. I have ruled on the matter.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  The Chair has ruled on the matter, but whether he is right or wrong is another question.

[1615]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy will accept my ruling.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  I have no alternative but to accept it, even though it may be wrong.

23.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when a telephone will be provided for a person (name supplied) in County Galway.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  It is hoped to provide service by the end of next month.

24.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when it is proposed to install a telephone for a person (name supplied) in Galway.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  The telephone was installed on the 9th May, 1975.

25.

Mr. Fahey: Information on John Fahey  Zoom on John Fahey  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs why a telephone applied for in October, 1974 by a person (name supplied) in County Waterford has not been installed.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Because of heavy arrears of construction work in the engineering district concerned, it is unlikely that service for the applicant in question will be provided before October next.

26.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when a telephone will be provided for a person (name supplied) in County Galway.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  It is hoped to provide a telephone for the person named early next year.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Might I ask the Minister why there should be such a long delay before a telephone is installed in this case?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  This is a reason which is and has been, unfortunately, rather normal. Provision of service for the gentleman concerned involves the erection of one-and-three-quarter miles of line work, including one mile of new aerial cable and a quarter mile of new pole route. This is abnormal line work, which is defined as line work exceeding a quarter mile of new pole route and [1616] wire, or its equivalent, from the nearest common pole or cable route to provide service for one applicant. Under present circumstances, which have been prevailing also for some considerable time, other cases which may be dealt with, with less expensive works, take priority.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  What is the applicant's area?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I am sorry. I do not understand the Deputy's question.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  The Minister will appreciate that there are a number of questions here and there is no record on the question as to which case is being referred to because the name and address is not published.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  It is the Deputy's own question.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  There are three or four there.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  The Deputy does not know who it is about.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Could the Minister tell me the particular area involved?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Esker, Athenry, County Galway.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Is the Minister aware that this applicant employs quite a big number of persons? I understood that his Department was giving priority where the applicant was a substantial employer. The firm in question provides very essential industrial service and gives good employment. It would be a pity if they had to wait that long for installation.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Deputy Molloy, among other Deputies, did make representations to my Department in March and April of this year on behalf of this applicant. He was informed on the 28th April last that the usefulness of a telephone for the firm was fully recognised but that, in view of the extensive construction work which its provision would involve, and the heavy volume of urgent engineering work to which the Department was [1617] committed, it was not possible at that stage to give a reliable forecast as to when that order could be attended to. In the representations the Deputy referred to the large number of men employed and stated that it was essential to the viability of the industry that the gentleman named be in constant contact with customers and employees.

He mentioned also other specific factors which could identify the firm, which I shall not mention here. The firm has telephone service at their office in Athenry and in their depot at Clarenbridge, Galway. There is also a telephone in the residence at Kiltulla of one of the directors. The three telephone numbers are shown together in the telephone directory under the entry for the firm in question, the residence especially indicated in the directory, presumably for incoming calls for the firm when the office and/or depot is closed. Service up to 10 p.m. is available at Kiltulla. In these circumstances, the Department did not consider that extreme hardship would arise by reason of the delay in this case.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  I take it the Minister is aware of the nature of the business.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I am, yes.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Irregular hours are worked due to the nature of the business. It is necessary to be on call for 24 hours of the day. Often very important emergency work is involved. Could I ask the Minister if, in view of this, he would reconsider the decision because the transfer of residence will cause very great difficulty in ensuring the efficient operation of this industry?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I am prepared to look at the matter again in the light of the factors mentioned by the Deputy but I cannot make any promises.

27.

Mr. Walsh: Information on Seán Walsh  Zoom on Seán Walsh  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when a telephone will be provided for a person (name supplied) in County Westmeath.

[1618]Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  By the end of August next.

28.

Mr. Calleary: Information on Seán Calleary  Zoom on Seán Calleary  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (a) the number of applications received for telephones from the beginning of 1974 to date, (b) the number of outstanding applications and (c) the average length of time taken to install each telephone.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  (a) Approximately 48,000; (b) Approximately 42,000 of which 8,300 are having attention; (c) The average waiting time to date of applications at present on the waiting list is approximately 12 months.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  Did the Minister say that out of 48,000 applications 42,000 are waiting to be dealt with?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  That is right, yes.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  Can the Minister give us some idea as to how he or his Department are tackling this tremendous backlog?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Yes, I think I can. I am glad the Deputy asked the question. The only way of tackling this backlog, as long as the demand continues to rise, is, of course, by stepping up the number of connections. The number of connections made in 1971 to 1972 was 45,000; the number made in 1973 to 1974 was 61,000, which is an increase of 35 per cent. In addition to the increase in connections, there has been a slight diminution in the rising rate of demand with the result that, for the first time, in the first quarter of this year, installations slightly exceed new applications.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  Can the Minister give us some idea as to when this problem may be resolved?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I would not care to make any predictions about that but the Deputy will see from my answers that a certain amount of progress is being made.

Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  Can the Minister then assure all subscribers that, with [1619] the increasing demand on the network, it will be capable of taking these enormously increased connections?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Yes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Question No. 29.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  Might I ask the Minister whether he has given the figures for installations or connections for the year 1974-75 and, if not, might he give them?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  The year 1975 has not been completed.

Mr. Wilson: Information on John P. Wilson  Zoom on John P. Wilson  What about 1973?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  The figure for installations for the first quarter of 1975 is 9,000, while the figure for demand in the same quarter is 8,000. Nine thousand represents a higher rate of installation than in 1974.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  Could I ask the Minister what the total figure was, on the same terms as he gave for 1973-74 and 1972-73, for the year 1974-75, since he has got the figure for the first quarter?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I may not have made it clear that I am speaking of completed calendar years.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  The figures I understood the Minister to give were for the year 1972-73.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  1971 and 1972, 1973 and 1974. I am speaking of completed calendar years and, of course, I cannot give a figure for the year 1975.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  You gave us the first quarter of 1975?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I did, yes.

Mr. Wilson: Information on John P. Wilson  Zoom on John P. Wilson  What was the figure for 1973?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  What about the other three-quarters of 1974?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I do not have it broken down into quarters for the year 1974.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Question No. 29.

[1620]Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  It is the policy of the Minister's Department to give priority to the installation of telephones where the applicant is from an urban area against an applicant from a rural area? Has this policy been operated in his Department since the commencement of this year and is this reflected in the figures the Minister has quoted which show that applications are being dealt with in the urban areas at the expense of the rural areas where more expense and work is involved?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Brief questions, please Deputies.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  The connections, say, in 1974, in the 01 area that is Dublin, were 13,000 and, in the provinces, 18,000 more. For 1975, first quarter, it was 4,000 in the 01 area and, in the provinces, 5,000. Therefore, I do not agree with the Deputy that there is any favouritism for the urban area over the rural one.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Further arising——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  We must pass on from this question.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Might I ask the Minister if he is aware that there are urban areas in this country other than Dublin?

29.

Mr. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass  Zoom on Noel T. Lemass  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the number of telephones in Ireland per 100 inhabitants; and how this figure compares with that for EEC countries generally.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  As the reply is in the form of a tabular statement, I propose with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to circulate it with the Official Report.

Following is the statement:

Ireland 12.75 as at 1st January 1975
(12.0 as at 1st January, 1974)
Belgium 25.72
Denmark 39.99
France 21.66
Germany (F.R.) 28.73 As at 1st January, 1974
Italy 22.86 (Latest available information).
Luxembourg 38.12
Netherlands 32.00
United Kingdom 34.06

[1621]Mr. MacSharry: Information on Raymond MacSharry  Zoom on Raymond MacSharry  Could the Minister give us the number asked for in the question?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  What number asked for?

Mr. Power: Information on Patrick Power  Zoom on Patrick Power  The number of telephones in Ireland per 100 population. How many?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  A Cheann Comhairle, I am in your hands.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Davern: Information on Noel Davern  Zoom on Noel Davern  Run for cover again.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I have a tabular statement here which I should be quite happy to read out, but is it usual to do so here?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  No. Question No. 30.

30.

Mr. Cronin: Information on Jeremiah Cronin  Zoom on Jeremiah Cronin  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will make a statement on recent reports in the news media to the effect that what appeared to be a policy of non-co-operation was pursued at the London link for telephone calls between Dublin and continental countries on the occasion of the conference of the EEC heads of Government in Dublin; and if he considers that the inability to make telephone calls within a reasonable time reported by visiting journalists tends to damage the reputation abroad of this country and its public institutions including that of his Department.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Information on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  Zoom on Conor Cruise-O'Brien  I am not aware of the reports referred to by the Deputy. Far from any complaint of the kind in question being received by my Department, the visiting journalists commented most favourably on the facilities and quality of telephone service provided at the conference.


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