Dáil Éireann - Volume 328 - 19 May, 1981

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Telephone Service.

1. Mr. Blaney asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the steps being taken to improve the unsatisfactory telephone service in the Dunfanaghy, Portnablagh and Marble Hill areas of County Donegal as it has deteriorated since becoming automatic.

Minister of State at the Department of Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Killilea): Additional circuits are needed to cater for the volume of traffic at this exchange. It is expected that the extra circuits required will be in service by the end of this year.

Mr. Cluskey: The Taoiseach is leaving to consult his ouija board.

2. Mr. Blaney asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when he expects that telephone service in the Falcarragh area of County Donegal will become automatic.

3. Mr. Coughlan asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when it is anticipated that fully automatic telephone service will be available in Falcarragh, County Donegal.

[3088] Mr. Killilea: With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to answer Questions Nos. 2 and 3 together.

By the end of this year.

Mr. L'Estrange: Is it the election that the Minister is talking about?

4. Mr. Deasy, Mr. L. Cosgrave and Mr. O'Donnell asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if his attention has been drawn to a report in the media (details supplied) regarding the non-installation of telephones in Ardagh Court, Blackrock, County Dublin; if he will give the dates on which the installations were requested; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Mr. Killilea: There are 12 applications for telephone service at Ardagh Court dating from 1976 and 1977. There has, regretably, been long delay in providing service for these applicants because of the non-availability of cabling. Main cabling for the area generally became available late last year and is being distributed now. This distribution is being carried out on the basis that is more productive from the point of view of manpower utilisation. As a result, telephone service has been provided for applicants in some estates who applied later than those in Ardagh Court. The work is continuing and it is expected that the cable will be distributed for the Ardagh Court applicants within the next two months, or so and service provided shortly thereafter.

5. Mr. Creed asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will have a telephone installed.

Mr. Killilea: About the middle of next year.

6. Mr. Lipper asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will arrange to erect telephone kiosks in Authlunkard St. and at 127 Upper Carey's Road, Limerick.

Mr. Killilea: The answer is 'yes'. A site [3089] has been selected for the kiosk to serve the needs of Upper Carey's Road generally and it will be provided as soon as possible after the necessary consents have been obtained. A suitable site is being sought for an additional kisok in the Athlunkard Street area.

7. Mr. Coughlan asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the proposals his Department have for improvements to the telephone system at Gweedore Industrial Estate, County Donegal.

Mr. Killilea: The Gweedore Industrial Estate is served by Bunbeg manual exchange. It is planned to improve the telephone service by providing additional trunk circuits between Bunbeg and Letterkenny in the last quarter of 1981, and by providing automatic service for the area in the second half of the next year.

Mr. L'Estrange: If the Minister's party are still there.

Mr. Killilea: There is no doubt of that in my mind.

Mr. L'Estrange: Will the Minister take a bet on it?

8. Mr. M. O'Leary asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will give immediate attention to the installation of a telephone in St. Vincent de Paul girls' school in Griffith Avenue, Dublin, which has an enrollment of 900 pupils; and if he will indicate to the school authorities when the telephone link will be installed.

9. Mr. Keating asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he is aware that the St. Vincent de Paul girls' School, Griffith Avenue, Dublin 9 which has some 900 pupils, does not have a telephone; and if he will expedite the application for telephone service which has been outstanding for a long time.

Mr. Killilea: With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 8 and 9 together.

It is expected that service will be provided within the next two weeks or so. [3090] The school authorities have been advised.

Mr. Keating: Good. Firstly, why did it take so many years actually to get a service for a school with 900 pupils? Secondly, will the Minister accept my gratitude that at last the questions that were tabled have elicited some response? The Minister is correct that the school authorities have been informed.

Mr. Killilea: Is the Deputy asking me a question there?

Mr. Keating: Why did it take so long?

Mr. Killilea: An application was made for a telephone service of two lines for St. Vincent de Paul's girls' national school on 14 February 1979. The problem which existed was in connection with cabling. The cabling is now completed but that work cannot be done very easily and hence the work took so long. This application was given priority and it got it as quickly as possible.

Mr. Keating: Do schools have priority?

Mr. Killilea: No.

Mr. Keating: Does the Minister consider it a satisfactory situation that a school of 900 pupils would be without a telephone service for so long? For example, if an accident occurred to one of the students or any other matter relating to the school which needed urgent attention, there would be difficulties.

Mr. Killilea: It is getting attention. It was not I who created the priority list. All I am saying to the Deputy is that at this moment we are looking at the priority list and I am taking into account what the Deputy has said.

Mr. Keating: Another study group?

Mr. Killilea: There is no need for that. Our Department is for action. It has been so all year.

[3091] Mr. Bruton: We get one studious Department.

10. Mr. Begley asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will make arrangements to retain the auto-manual exchange in Cahirciveen post office and to provide operator services for subscribers in south Kerry.

Mr. Killilea: The intention is that when Cahirciveen exchange is converted to automatic working all operator services for the area will be provided from Tralee exchange. The volume of manual traffic to be handled at Cahirciveen following the conversion of the exchange to automatic working would not warrant retention of operators there. Moreover, the new automatic exchange for Cahirciveen has been designed on the basis that operator services would be provided from Tralee and provision of operator services at Cahirciveen would involve additional expense and delay in bringing the automatic exchange into use.

I should add that the arrangements for dealing with staff displaced as a result of extension of the automatic service generally are the subject of discussion with the staff organisations representing the staffs involved.

Mr. Begley: Is the Minister aware of the very grave unemployment situation which exists in Cahericiveen at the moment. Three factories are closed and now the telephone exchange is closing down. Surely the Minister could see his way to diverting some extra work into the exchange to keep some of the people employed there?

Mr. Killilea: I do not have the figures on this but, as far as my Department are concerned, as far as employment in the Caherciveen area, and particularly in south Kerry last year is concerned, we have given more employment there than any private industrial employer. Secondly, in answer to the Deputy's question concerning automation, do they want an automatic service in Caherciveen or do they not? If they do not want the automatic service now, would the Deputy say [3092] so, because there are a thousand different places around the country where we could place this exchange. If you are going to get an automatic exchange, how can you have an operator-assisted exchange? It is a simple question and has a simple answer.

Mr. Begley: One can only expect a bark from a dog. The Minister is not interested.

Mr. Killilea: The Minister is very interested.

Mr. Begley: Obviously, the Minister is not interested in keeping extra people working in Caherciveen. That is what the question asked for and there is no other interpretation that can be put on it.

Mr. Killilea: I have answered the question but the Deputy may not interpret it in such a way as to put on it whatever type of twist he wishes for The Kerryman. I am now asking the Deputy and the people of Cahirciveen publicly whether they want an automatic service.

Mr. Begley: One can only expect from a pig a grunt.