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Phone wire thefts put Schull business in jeopardy

June 15th, 2015 4:55 PM

By Jackie Keogh

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OPPORTUNISTIC thieves who robbed low-hanging Eircom wires have put an antiquarian book business in jeopardy.

The theft of Eircom cables for their copper content, on three separate occasions in the last thirty days, is playing havoc with the online sale of books, according to Jack and Barbara O’Connell of Schull Books. It is understood that the low hanging wires, which also happen to be low voltage, were cut down near the entrance to the Derryconnell Civic Amenity Site.

On each of the three occasions, a large amount of cable was taken from the roadside and on the road leading to the home of Jack O’Connell (87) and his wife Barbara (67).

Each time, Eircom sent a local linesman out to replace the stolen cables and they, according to Jack, have been ‘very helpful.’

But Jack – who is well known and well liked in the area, not just for establishing the first bookshop in West Cork 35 years ago, but also for his role as a former administrator of the West Cork Arts Centre, said the situation should be highlighted.

As their business is relatively ‘low-tech’, Jack said he and Barbara depend on their answering machine and their email account, and if either are down, they lose business.

Although the disruption to their service does not affect the use of their mobile phones, Jack, who is legally blind as he has very limited sight in one eye, said: ‘We are at an age where we could find ourselves in an emergency situation and require the use of the landline.’

In highlighting the situation, Jack told The Southern Star: ‘I wish Eircom would fix it. The cable needs to be put out of reach. We have been lucky here in West Cork that there hasn’t been much crime, but the theft of the cables, and the stealing of oil from tanks in the area, is unsettling, particularly for people living on their own.

‘As for us,’ Jack, with his usual flair, said: ‘Without a phone, it’s like living on the frontier.’

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