Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 25 Oct 1979

Vol. 316 No. 5

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Telephone Installations.


asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the number of applicants presently awaiting telephone installations, the average waiting time, and the average waiting time in 1974.


asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the average delay for telephone installation in (a) urban areas and (b) rural areas.

Dublin South-Central): With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 27 and 28 together. The number of waiting applications is about 73,000. The average waiting time to date of these applications is about 16 months and is the same for urban and rural telephone exchange areas. The average waiting time in 1974 was about 11 months.

Is the Minister serious when he tells us that the average waiting time is 16 months? I have had numerous letters from the Department in connection with people who applied two, three or four years ago and who have not yet got a telephone installation.

That is argument.

The Minister gave the average.

(Dublin South-Central): I gave the average waiting time to date.

Has the Minister any idea of the number who have been waiting for over three years?

(Dublin South-Central): The average waiting time in 1974 was about 11 months.

Would the Minister accept that the position is disimproving? He referred to a backlog of 73,000. On the last occasion on which this question was tabled, approximately eight or ten months ago, the backlog was just in excess of 60,000. The waiting period is also disimproving and there is anything but reason for the sort of complacency which seems to be emanating from the Minister's Department.

(Dublin South-Central): The Deputy may not be aware that over the past 12 or 18 months we had industrial problems in the Department with the engineering union and in the postal section. That is one reason. Secondly, since we took office we gave free rental concessions to old age pensioners, which added to the abnormal number of applications coming in. Thirdly, and very important, due to the upsurge in the economy we have an unprecedented——

(Dublin South-Central):——number of applications over the past 18 months.

That may be due to the fact that the Government discovered 100,000 people they did not know existed.

Order. Deputies should approach questions in a serious manner.

The Minister referred to the introduction of a free rental scheme for elderly persons. Is it not a fact that the majority of such people did not benefit from the scheme because they could not get a telephone installed and that the number of persons awaiting installation is increasing?

(Dublin South-Central): They have benefited substantially. There is another question down in relation to that matter.

There are more people waiting longer than ever before for the installation of a telephone.

(Dublin South-Central): There are more people waiting for telephones than ever before and they are in a position to pay for them.

The remaining questions will appear on the Order Paper for the next sitting day.