THE Chairperson of Moyle District Council, Ulster Unionist councillor Sandra Hunter, has praised the continued retention of an old-style red phonebox in the Giant’s Causeway area.
Cllr Hunter said: “It is absolutely fantastic to see the Red Telephone Box back at the Giant’s Causeway. They are a piece of our heritage and identity, especially as this one is a ‘listed’ structure.
“Red Telephone Boxes are slowly but surely disappearing and this is one which I made sure at the time of the building of the new visitors centre did not disappear from our own area.
“Of the 51,500 public kiosks that were in the United Kingdom, there are only 11,000 remaining, as confirmed by British Telcom in April 2012. In Northern Ireland there are only 34 listed kiosks left, though not all kiosks are ‘listed’.
“It is very important to keep these kiosks in the heart of rural communities, even with the development of modern mobile technologies, as there are still many rural areas which have very limited service, like Ballintoy, or no network coverage like in recent days when O2 network went off air, or when T-Mobile tried to shut down in the Glenariffe/Parkmore area and left their customers stranded as they are not able to get another network coverage within this rural area.
“Even I have required the public telephone when out and about recently when my mobile ‘died’ on me and I needed to get in touch with someone. Truthful examples of why such is the importance of the public telephone network that there will always be a place for them in towns, villages and rural areas especially in times of emergency.”
The councillor was happy a pillar box is still in the area as well.
Said Chairperson Hunter: “This is a free standing post box. Believe it or not there are 150 recognised designs and varieties of pillar boxes and wall boxes, not all of which have known surviving examples. These are also still a very much needed part of rural life.”