Fine Gael councillor Gerard Murphy said that, to rectify the lack of coverage, the Government should copy legislation in Britain, whereby mobile phone operators are punished financially for not providing proper signals in rural areas.
Councillors from the northern division have written to the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), asking what will be done about the deteriorating service, especially as mobile phone companies claim that they are improving coverage.
ComReg said providers were only “obliged to provide a minimum level of national population coverage” relating to the type of licence they were granted.
Councillors saw red at the reply, with Fianna Fáil’s Bernard Moynihan saying the reply was “an insult”, and that everybody living in rural parts of north Cork knew their coverage was less than adequate.
He said that mobile phone coverage was “absolutely disgraceful” in areas like Cullen, Kiskeam, and Ballydesmond.
Fianna Fáil’s Frank O’Flynn said: “This letter is absolutely not good enough. There are parts of Doneraile, which is a small town, which has no coverage at all. There’s also little or no coverage in villages like Kilworth and Araglin.
“It’s a disgrace and it’s a problem which is causing serious issues for doctors, and other members of the emergency services”.
Fianna Fáil’s Ian Doyle, chairman of the northern division, said areas around Charleville and “Newtownshandrum had a completely unworkable service.”
Tim Collins, an Independent who lives in Meelin — billed as the highest village in Munster — said mobile companies had abandoned coverage in such areas, and called upon his colleagues in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to lobby their TDs “to put pressure on” at the highest level to get it sorted out.