An accusation against eircom that it failed to comply with its promise to engage in consultation before removing telephone kiosks from Tramore streets has elicited a strong denial from the company’s Head of Communications, Mr. Paul Bradley.
The accusation was levelled, through this newspaper on July 18, by former Mayor of Tramore, Cllr Joe Conway.
Referring to “wholesale decommissioning of most kiosks” on foot of the proliferation of mobile phones, he said it highlighted the need for a properly structured street furniture programme and went on to criticise eircom for what he termed as a lack of advance consultation.
“The company assured the public that they would be given adequate opportunities to make submissions about impending removals”, he stated, “but to the best of my knowledge no notices of intent were posted in the kiosks or in the papers, as had been promised by eircom. It is an attitude that has routinely pervaded the company – take as little heed of the user as you can get away with, and hope nobody notices”.
That, however, is vehemently denied by Mr. Bradley. In a letter to Cllr Conway, a copy of which he sent to this paper, he wrote, inter alia: “Prior to the removal of any payphone, eircom initiates a public consultation process. Removal notification notices are placed on all targeted payphones for a period of six weeks.
“Additionally, letters are issued to all relevant local authorities informing them of the rationalisation programme in their area. Local residents and relevant authorities are then given an opportunity to submit their views in writing to eircom and all views received are taken into account before any payphone is removed”.
Addressing Cllr. Conway’s final comment about eircom’s attitude to the public, Mr. Bradley confirmed that the company did, in fact, engage in a public consultation process prior to the removal of payphones in Tramore. He recalled: “A notice was placed on all the payphones in question for the required six week period and Waterford Council Council was also informed and advised of the same notice period.
“No objections were received either from members of the community or from the County Council and the payphones were subsequently removed. It is worth noting that eircom is not required to advertise in local newspapers regarding the removal of payphones and in this case we have fully complied with our USO obligation, as well as our duty of care to our customers. The telecommunications regulator, Comreg, is fully informed and satisfied with our payphone removals procedure”.
Mr. Bradley informed Cllr Conway that he would be happy to arrange for him to meet with eircom’s Payphones Services Manager to discuss any outstanding issues he might have regarding the provision of payphone services in the Tramore area.