Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Telephone Service.

7.

asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he has any plans to provide a public telephone kiosk within the Corbawn housing development in Shankill, County Dublin, and when such a kiosk will be provided.

8.

asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the distance from the furthest house in the Corbawn housing development, Shankill, County Dublin, to the public phone kiosk recently established adjacent to the Rathsallagh housing estate.

(Dublin South-Central): I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to take Questions Nos. 7 and 8 together.

There are no plans to provide a telephone kiosk within the Corbawn housing development as the provision of a further kiosk in the general area is not regarded as warranted at present. The distance from the furthest house in the Corbawn housing development to the public phone kiosk near the Rathsallagh housing estate is 1,000 metres.

Is the Minister not aware that the failure to provide a public telephone service in this area where there are no private phones is leading to discontent which is bordering on apoplexy and is he further aware that the latest public kiosk provided is further from the Corbawn housing estate than the one which is already in situ?

(Dublin South-Central): My information is that a telephone kiosk was installed on 5 February at the most convenient point for the Corbawn residents.

Is the Minister aware that existing kiosks in this area are subject to considerable vandalism and is he satisfied that appropriate arrangements are being made to ensure that they are in service at all reasonable times?

(Dublin South-Central): I have not been informed that they have been vandalised.

9.

asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the number of telephone applications outstanding in the Corbawn housing development, Shankill, County Dublin; when service will be provided; and the reason for the delay.

(Dublin South-Central): The number outstanding is 106. Service will be provided when a cabling scheme is completed about the end of this year. The scheme and numbers of others were seriously delayed by industrial action last year and by flood and other damage to cables in recent months.

Could the Minister be more specific in relation to the time involved? Eight months of the year are left and can the Minister say whether it will be done before the summer rather than before the end of the year?

(Dublin South-Central): It will be near the end of the year.

It will be closer to the end of the year than we are today.

10.

asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the number of applications which have been received in his Department for a refund of telephone rental by people whose phones have been malfunctioning or completely out of order over the past few months; if it is intended to give a full rebate of rental to such people; the number of rebates which have already been granted; and the reasons for the delay in granting such rebates.

(Dublin South-Central): Some 3,800 written complaints were received in the four months ended 31 March from subscribers whose telephones were out of service. Information is not readily available as to the number of these who specially requested rebates of rental, but it is standard practice in every such case to consider the granting of a rebate when the complaint is being examined. A full rebate of rental will be allowed in all cases where there has been delay in restoring service. Some 1,700 rebates have been allowed so far. Rebates will be allowed in the remaining cases when postal services are resumed.

The Minister referred to the standard practice of allowing rebates where service is interrupted. Am I to understand that no particular cognizance is being taken of the massive disruption and inconvenience caused specifically by the dispute? Is the Minister willing to consider the situation where a service was limited, though perhaps not totally interrupted, owing to the dispute?

The question does not permit examining every possibility under which rebates might be obtained. The Chair would not risk allowing that. There are many facets of the question which could be dealt with if that were permitted.

Is the Minister saying there will be no difference in the practice of the Department with regard to the possibility of rebates in the context of the dispute than has been normal in the past?

(Dublin South-Central): Many of the requests for rebates were due to damage caused by flooding in January and February and it took some time to restore services. Where services have been reconnected we will ensure that a certain amount of rebate is conceded for the period when the service was not available, irrespective of whether we receive requests for such rebates.

Would the Minister accept that in the same category would fall those telephones which are on manual exchange and through which it is not possible to make or receive calls owing to the Post Office strike which affects telephones connected to a manual exchange? Would that be considered a malfunction?

(Dublin South-Central): Certainly we will look at that situation.

Would the Minister accept that people in those areas should get a full rebate for the disruption caused by the postal strike?

(Dublin South-Central): Some local connections are working within particular districts.

11.

(Cavan-Monaghan): asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the average waiting time for telephone installations (a) in Cavan town and (b) in the Cavan exchange area, and if he will state the cause of such delay and when he expects telephones may be installed with a normal waiting time from date of application.

(Dublin South-Central): I regret that the precise information sought by the Deputy is not readily available. However, the average waiting times to date of outstanding applications are: (a) 12½ months; (b) 13½ months.

The main reason for the delay is a temporary shortage of equipment at Cavan exchange. It is expected that this will be remedied about the middle of next year.

(Cavan-Monaghan): Do the periods of 12½ months and 13½ months refer to the Cavan area?

(Dublin South-Central): Yes.

(Cavan-Monaghan): Could the Minister tell me what is the longest waiting time in that area?

(Dublin South-Central): The number of applicants awaiting installations is 140.

(Cavan-Monaghan): Is that in the town or in the area?

(Dublin South-Central): The number in Cavan town is 51 and in the outside area it is 89.

(Cavan-Monaghan): Could the Minister tell me the longest waiting time in each area?

(Dublin South-Central): In the town of Cavan, 13 have been waiting since 1977 and 33 since 1978 and there have been five applications in 1979.

(Cavan-Monaghan): What is the longest period an applicant has been waiting?

(Dublin South-Central): Since mid-1977.

(Cavan-Monaghan): Can the Minister hold out any hope of the position improving and, if so, when?

(Dublin South-Central): Of course I can. A 400-line extension in the Cavan exchange will be completed in the first quarter of 1980.

(Cavan-Monaghan): Will that improve matters?

(Dublin South-Central): It will be dependent on the Adelaide Road trunk exchange in Dublin which is expected to open at the same time.

(Cavan-Monaghan): Is the Minister telling me that the backlog will be cleared up in 1980?

(Dublin South-Central): It is hoped that a considerable amount of it will be cleared. With an expanding economy, I have no doubt there will be more applicants.

(Cavan-Monaghan): Does the Minister think that the present situation in the postal dispute will help the economy?

12.

asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the number of applicants for telephones awaiting connection to Kildare town exchange and the length of waiting time expected.

(Dublin South-Central): There are 46 waiting applications. Two applications outstanding since 1977 will, it is expected, be met within the next few months. Most of the remaining 44 applications made since May 1978 will be met next year when additional equipment necessary to enable service to be provided is installed in the local exchange; the small balance will be met in the following year or so.