asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs whether it is proposed to connect Meenacross sub-post office, Dungloe, County Donegal, with a telephone service; and, if so, when.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Telephone Service for County Donegal.
I propose to answer Deputy O'Donnell's question and perhaps anticipate further similar questions by making a general statement about the scheme for providing a telephone in every rural post office.
When the scheme was commenced in 1947 the number of rural post offices without telephones was approximately 940. Of these 396 were provided with telephones in the five years ending December 31st, 1951, leaving a balance of some 544 still without telephones.
Early last year I decided that a special effort should be made to complete the scheme within a period of approximately two years. Progress in the meantime has been satisfactory as indicated by the fact that 246 additional sub-post offices were served in 1952. If there are no unforeseen difficulties, the balance of 300 odd sub-post offices (including that at Meenacross) will be provided with telephones by the middle of next year.
As I have explained previously, I do not propose to give more precise estimates as to when installation work is likely to be carried out at particular post offices because changes may be made from time to time to co-ordinate the call office work with other engineering work, and I wish to give the officers concerned full liberty of action to settle or revise the order of installation on purely engineering considerations.
Would the Minister not consider giving preference to sub-post offices in the proximity of the residences of clergymen and doctors who may be required to attend to their clerical and professional duties? That would be most satisfactory for the people of the district.
If special representations of that kind were received, naturally, I would consider them but they have not been. Taken as awhole, the users of the post office have been very content with the way the work has been done in the last year.
Would the Minister accept my question as representations for Meenacross?
If the engineering circumstances make it possible and if there is a special urgency in connection with this sub-post office, I will consider it but, as I have said, we intend to do them all.
There is a clergyman resident next door and it would be very acceptable.