§ Mr. VINCENT KENNEDY
asked the Postmaster-General if he will state whether similar telephone facilities are to be given to Irish farmers and Irish agricultural co-operative societies as he has proposed in England; will he say the extent of the guarantee required in the two countries, and will the detailed provisions of this telephone system be sent through the proper channels to the various Irish cooperative societies?
§ The ASSISTANT POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Captain Norton)
No distinction will be made in the provision of telephone party lines in rural districts or in the conditions of such provision between any part of the United Kingdom and any other part, and I shall be glad to have the assistance of all societies interested in the development of agriculture in Ireland in the organisation of these party line systems. It should, of course, be understood that these cheap party lines can only be provided in districts in the vicinity of existing telephone exchanges or where there is enough telephone business to justify the establishment of new exchanges and their connection with the general telephone system of the country.
§ Mr. LARDNER
Is not the result of the answer that there will be no rural telephones in Ireland, though extensions of the telephones are to be made, and that a distinction has been made between the extension of the telephone trunk system in the towns of Ireland and that in England?
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
Will not this limitation which the hon. Gentleman mentioned prevent the extension of the telephone to the farmers in England?
§ Mr. KENNEDY
Is it not a fact that though in the Cavan district they promised absolutely every guarantee that was asked they were told that they would not get the telephone?
§ Captain NORTON
Doubtless. But these facilities cannot be given right throughout the country in places where the telephone does not exist to some extent at present. We cannot cover the whole face of the United Kingdom with a network of telephones at tremendous cost.
§ Mr. LARDNER
Is it not the fact that this is due to the fact that the management is in London and not in Dublin?