Dáil Éireann - Volume 328 - 19 May, 1981

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Telex Facilities.

12. Mr. C. Murphy asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will outline any immediate proposals which his Department have to provide urgently needed telex facilities throughout the country.

Mr. Killilea: The following steps are being taken to enable applications for telex service to be met promptly:

1. A new telex exchange at Dublin and sub-exchangers at Cork, Limerick and Waterford with capacity to meet requirements for some years ahead are expected to be brought into service within the next three months.

2. A special programme of provision of equipment needed to give certain telex applicants trunk service is almost completed and a follow-on programme is planned.

3. Equipment has been ordered that will enable telex service to be provided for applicants who have telephone service [3094] but for whom spare cabling is not otherwise available.

4. Adequate stocks of teleprinters are being built up.

5. Additional staff are being assigned to telex work.

As a result of these measures, it is expected that it should be possible to meet applications for telex service promptly by the end of next year.

Mr. Keating: Is the Minister aware of a number of factories or other commercial enterprises in Dublin city who have been waiting for telex service for at least 18 months despite the people concerned having been given to understand that the service would be forthcoming within weeks of their setting up? Would the Minister at least indicate for the benefit of those applicants when precisely they may expect service?

Mr. Killilea: The telex exchange in Dublin and the sub-exchanges at Limerick and Waterford are due to come into service at the end of this month.

Mr. Keating: Does that mean that these applicants will be given lines?

Mr. Killilea: Yes. Of course, in the absence of an exchange, lines are not available. The sub-exchange at Cork is due to come into service about June 1981. The initial capacity that would be provided will approximately double the existing capacity of 6,500 exchange lines to about 13,000 exchange lines.

Mr. B. Desmond: What is the total number of outstanding telex service applications in the country as a whole?

Mr. Killilea: We are in the course of providing 247 lines.

Mr. B. Desmond: But what is the total number outstanding?

Mr. Killilea: The Deputy might have let me finish. Agreements have been signed with a further 111 applicants and we are at inquiry stage in respect of 1,130 [3095] applicants. That makes a total of 1,488 being dealt with at this time.

Mr. B. Desmond: Would the Minister not agree that the majority of these applicants are predominantly new businesses and new industries? Would he not agree also that throughout the country a great deal of industrial investment and production, particularly in the export field, is being gravely hampered, even in the south Dublin and Dún Laoghaire areas, because firms are not in a position to take on employees nor to accept new orders because of the lack of telex service? They do not even have telex machines. Are we not talking here about mainly 1,488 individual firms?

Mr. Killilea: Not necessarily. The Deputy must understand the complexity of providing a telex service either for a firm or for a private individual. In order to provide this service we have has to build and equip a new exchange, a task which involves a certain amount of time. We have a certain amount of time. We have a situation now whereby we expect that by the end of this year we will be in a position to offer telex promptly, practically on order, and that is very important. I might add that throughout business it is acknowledged generally that we have what is perhaps the best telex system in Europe. We should never allow ourselves to become confused as to what must be done and what has been done.

Mr. Keating: Regarding the applicants in Dublin city, am I correct in understanding the Minister to say that the service would be provided within about a month?

Mr. Killilea: That is not so. I was talking about the country as a whole.

Mr. Keating: But I distinctly heard the Minister say that the service would be provided within a month.

Mr. Killilea: That is not what I said. I said that three exchanges — at Dublin, Limerick and Waterford — will be coming into operation by the end of May 1981 and that a further exchange is to come [3096] into operation in Cork in June 1981. I indicated also that 358 applicants are in the process of being facilitated and that the remainder of about 1,130 applications are being processed. At the end of the year all of those people should have telex service.

Mr. Keating: Regarding the three exchanges that are coming on stream this month, am I to take it that the applicants concerned will be provided with services within a month?

Mr. Killilea: No. I am saying that 358 applicants are in the course of being provided with a service and that we are processing a further 1,130 applications in the country as a whole.

Mr. B. Desmond: How can the Minister maintain that we have the most modern telex system in Europe when in France, in Sweden, in the UK or in any other EEC country one can have a telex installed in one's office within a matter of a month or so of making the application?

Mr. Killilea: That is not true.

Mr. P. Barry: In some of those countries service can be provided within days.

Mr. B. Desmond: This is true. American and continental firms are being brought into this country and told by the Department that there will be no problem about the provision of telex service, that this would be available within weeks. The reality is, as I know from my constituency, that such people have been waiting for up to 18 months for service.

An Ceann Comhairle: This is turning into a debate. I am calling Question No. 13.

Mr. Killilea: I am not aware of what the Deputy alleges.

Mr. B. Desmond: It is the greatest con job of all time.

13. Mr. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he is aware of [3097] the difficulties being experienced by a company (details supplied) in Leap, County Cork, because of the non-availability of telex facilities; and whether he will take steps to ensure that facilities are made available immediately.

Mr. Killilea: The need for telex facilities is appreciated and it is expected it will be possible to provide it within the next three months.

Mr. O'Keeffe: Now that we have a time limit is there any possibility of giving further priority in view of the very expecttional difficulties this firm are experiencing as a result of the lack of telex facilities? Is the Minister aware that the company manufacture micro material for sale abroad?

Mr. Killilea: The Deputy will be aware now from my reply to the previous question that the Cork exchanges is coming into operation in June. This additional service will give us great scope. Immediately after that service coming into operation I will ensure that the telex service in question is brought forward as fast as possible.

Mr. O'Keeffe: If the Minister is around by then, I shall hold him to that commitment.

Mr. Killilea: The Minister will be around anyway.

Mr. O'Keeffe: But not, perhaps, in the Department of Posts and Telegraphs.

Mr. Killilea: That is what the Deputy may think.