Another one bites the dust as Wexford's public payphones vanish

David Tucker

Published 13/10/2015 | 00:00

The public phone box on Wexford's South Main Street getting the chop last week.
The public phone box on Wexford's South Main Street getting the chop last week.

They were once as common as fleas on a dog's back, but they are disappearing fast.

Public payphones, once so familiar on our streets, are rapidly becoming things of the past.

According to Eir (formerly Eircom) there are just 16 'multiple sites' and 10 singles in the county, officially down two on last year, but one was being removed from South Main Street in Wexford town last week, the latest to face the axe.

Whereas in the past Eir (that is Eircom) had to seek the views of the public before doing away with them, ComReg now says they can be removed without public consultation where usage is so low as to suggest they are no longer needed.

The rules allow Eircom to remove payphones where the average daily usage is less than one minute. This would permit Eircom to remove almost 500 payphones or 37 per cent of the current total in the State.

However, phones whose usage is under the daily threshold, but which are used primarily for free-phone numbers and calls to emergency services will not be removed.

There were more than 8,500 public payphones in the 1990s, but that figure had fallen to 4,690 by 2003. The number fell dramatically between 2006 and 2009 but has remained static since.

At the end of 2013, there were 1,325 payphones in 712 locations, of which 91 per cent were in full working order.

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