‘Technical issue’ responsible for 999 calls not answered, says BT Ireland – The Irish Times

An “internal technical problem” at BT Ireland resulted in more than 200 emergency calls from 999 or 112 going unanswered on Tuesday morning, the operator said on Wednesday.

Department of Communications officials were notified of the emergency call service outage between 1 a.m. and 2.15 a.m. Tuesday.

Due to the outage, 227 people calling the telephone line were unable to reach emergency services.

In a statement following the incident, BT Ireland said the flaw was not malicious and service was restored shortly after.

“We contacted gardaí and gave them the list of callers so they could call them directly and provide assistance. We sincerely apologize to any caller who may have been affected by this service issue,” a spokesperson said.

BT Ireland has operated the Emergency Call Answering Service on behalf of the Department of Communications for over 12 years.

The company said it had met the standards set out in the contract at the time. “It is a responsibility that we take extremely seriously and we are working with DECC to ensure that such a technical error does not occur again.”

Minister of State in charge of procurement Ossian Smyth has asked for a detailed report from BT Ireland on the outage.

In a statement, the department said the “immediate priority” was to ensure there was “no risk of a similar occurrence in the future”.

Mr Smyth said the department should “determine the precise circumstances that led to the service interruption and then, in consultation with its legal counsel, determine the consequences of the contract”.

The current contract with BT Ireland to operate the 999 and 112 call answering service was signed in early 2018 following a competitive bidding process. The contract expires at the end of 2025.