Irish Examiner View: Calling time on public payphones

Irish Examiner View: Calling time on public payphones

Most of the remaining 456 public payphones in this Republic will become memories as Eir is not obliged to operate and maintain them from next year. File image: Larry Cummins

The mobile phone may have changed our lives more dramatically than nearly any other innovation in recent decades. It has certainly changed the landscape of our towns and cities - and will change it further. 

Most of the remaining 456 public payphones in this Republic will become memories as Eir is not obliged to operate and maintain them from next year.

There may be greater change afoot - postmasters have warned that Covid-19 continues to have a very serious impact on post offices, and by extension cash spending in local economies. 

The Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) says post office business, often precarious already, is down 25% since the pandemic reached these shores. The pandemic has accelerated the replacement of cash with card payments so another plank in post offices' survival strategy has been weakened.

The legacy of the pandemic may be seen, in the fulness of time, as an acceleration of change. In that context, it must be feared that the small, local post office will go the way of public payphones.

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