Dáil Éireann - Volume 331 - 03 December, 1981

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Ballinasloe Telephone Exchange.

6. Mr. Callanan asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when the new telephone exchange in Ballinasloe, County Galway, will be equipped as there is a long waiting list of applications for telephones there.

Mr. Harte: It is expected that the new trunk and local exchange will be in service in Ballinasloe in the second quarter of 1982. It is hoped to offer telephone service to some waiting applicants in the Ballinasloe group of exchanges in advance of installation of the new exchange.

Mr. Callanan: That exchange is built a long time. Is the Minister of State aware that there are people on the waiting list at Ballinasloe since 1974? Is he also aware that people could not even get a business telephone in Ballinasloe or the area around that town until recently? We were promised that this exchange would be equipped in the last quarter of 1981. Now it will be the second quarter of 1982. Everybody expected this exchange to be equipped by the end of this year. Is it possible to have it equipped by the end of this year?

[1090] Mr. Harte: My information is that there are 40 applicants for telephone service in Ballinasloe. Service has been offered to 24 of these but most of the others will have to wait until the new exchange is in service. There is a serious congestion in the Ballinasloe area at present because of the shortage of equipment. I did not create the shortage of equipment. It was there when Fianna Fáil were in power.

Mr. Callanan: I am not interested in who is the cause of the shortage of equipment. We were promised the equipment by the end of 1981 and we are now told we will have to wait until the second quarter of 1982. That is a shame in a progressive town like Ballinasloe where a private individual cannot get a telephone at all.

Mr. Harte: I was about to put on the record the assurance the Deputy was given by his own Minister of State. The serious delay with the building has caused the problem. If that had not happened this problem would have been dealt with long ago.

Mr. Callanan: I do not accept that the delay is caused by the building. The building has been finished for a long time. What information has the Minister of State that the building was not finished so that the equipment could be put into it? I am in the town of Ballinasloe nearly every day and the building is there a long time and completely finished.

Mr. Harte: I cannot add anything to what I have already said. If the Deputy wishes to talk to me privately about this and if there is any way we can help him, he can be assured every assistance will be given to him.

Mr. Killilea: What specifically was the delay in the building of that particular telephone exchange? Would the delay in opening this exchange not be for another reason which the Minister does not want to tell the House?

[1091] Mr. Harte: It is not said here and probably I should not put it on the record. If the Deputy forces me I might.

Mr. Killilea: If the Minister has not the information in his brief he should not put it on the record.

Mr. Harte: It will probably come up in a later question.

Mr. Callanan: I am very anxious to know why the telephone exchange cannot be provided. If there is some information I should have I would ask the Minister to let me know what it is.

Mr. Harte: I know that Deputy Callanan has been in contact with the Department on a number of occasions about Ballinasloe. If he comes to my office after Question Time we will let him look at the file and the record and if he can make any suggestion which might be helpful we will consider that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Is the Deputy satisfied?

Mr. Callanan: Yes.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Question No. 7. If we continue at this pace the end of this Dáil will come before we come to the end of questions. Deputies will have to be a little indulgent with me.