For this Council to write to the CEO of Eircom, Mr Paul Donovan urging him to have his company remove old disused phone boxes in Athlone as many of them are redundant and attract litter, bill posting and other unsavoury activities. We should retain one box, refurbish it and fit it a defibrillator.
In February 2009, almost three years ago Eircom announced that it was going to carry out a cull of its now obsolete phone boxes that dot our town. It identified a total of 17 phone boxes that it was going to remove from Athlone and obviously restore the footpaths etc.. However to my knowledge little or no action has been taken since then.
The phone box was once a hub of daily activity outside housing estates, at street corners, outside Post Offices but today they lie unwanted, redundant and idle. Even the household ‘landline’ is a dying breed
today with the ringing tone of the mobile phone seems always in the air. There are 1.6m households in the country and there are 5.2m mobile phone subscribers in the country meaning there is an average of 3.25 mobile phones in every house in Ireland…. I think its safe to say that the day of the phone box is probably gone for good and the landline will probably soon follow.
So, my suggestion is that we write to Eircom to insist that they remove all of the phone boxes dotted around the town. However, I have one further suggestion – I would like for them to leave one of the boxes at custume place but remove the phone from inside etc.. and we the town council take ownership of the box, clean it up and fit it with a defibrillator.
The door would be locked but with a ‘break in an emergency’ seal on it. This box is clearly covered by the CCTV cameras so security should not be a problem. For the Council to provide a permanent, hi-visibility, hi-profile location for a defibrillator on our main thoroughfare like this would in my view be worthwhile and could potentially provide a life saving opportunity to someone in the future. Because of its location and
the way it would be branded – very soon everybody familiar with town would know there was a defib located at this box and this could be invaluable at some point in the future. The cost to install and implement this would be minimal and once off.
So, I suggest we write and demand the removal of all boxes bar one.