Mixed reaction to Clonmel’s new hi-tech phone boxes

Photo © Tipp FM

Phone boxes being erected around the town of Clonmel have become a divisive topic.

Some members of the public see the benefit of reintroducing phone boxes, especially in rural areas, while others see it as unnecessary due to most people having mobile phones.

Younger locals have questioned the use of these “digital pedestals”, and many older people are reminiscing about the memories connected to these phone boxes from their younger years.

Tipp FM’s Alison Hyland explains some of the features of the new phone box in Clonmel.

“It’s to kind of give a more modern service to people who would need to use phones. It’s impressive enough; there’s a large touchscreen on it, and there are different things you can go into. There’s a local area map, tourist information, points of interest, a health section, terms and conditions, accessibility, emergency numbers, and one on how to use the phone. The emergency numbers one itself is quite impressive; you have ambulance, fire and rescue, Gardaí, Samaritans, the Rape Crisis Centre, Childline, Aware, Alcoholics Anonymous, Ruhama, Women’s Aid, and then you have all the Embassy numbers of every country you can think of.”

The roll-out comes with a collaboration from Eir and Clear Channel to place them in areas where phone boxes would have been traditionally placed to provide a more modern service.

Locals in Clonmel have also raised eyebrows at the price of calls, which are a minimum of €2 with local and national calls at 50 cents a minute, and calls to mobiles at €1 a minute.

Alison says it seems to be targeted for tourist use.

“It seems to be aimed primarily at tourists; the local area map is very good in that respect. You also have a page there for points of interest, and that gives you all the information in terms of local transport, places of worship, public buildings, emergency services, public services, and other points of interest. I spoke to a number of people on the street here and I asked them if they would use it, and they liked the idea of it, but then you see the price of the calls, and everyone balked at that.”