An optical fibre cable is being laid across the Atlantic Ocean linking New Jersey to Bristol via Cork.

A high tech operation is taking place at Garretstown Beach near Ballinspittle village in West Cork as the transatlantic telephone cable is hauled ashore. 

The privately funded project will see the cable link New Jersey in the United States of America to Bristol in the United Kingdom, with an Irish spur,

Which makes us independent from Britain for the first time in telecommunications traffic by cable.

The 7,500 km long fibre optic cable carries sound and light by pulses and is necessary because of increased pressure on existing telecommunications resources. It is the first telephone and computer data cable ever laid into Ireland.

Telecom Éireann has invested £20 million in £300 million project. Director of business strategy at Michael Sheridan stresses the value in having direct and high speed telephone and data links to North America and European locations.

For the business sector in particular this is significant in it means that Ireland can now be linked with the major economic centres of the world.

This is a far cry from when in 1858 the original cable to carry code telegraph messages was hauled ashore in Valencia linking Ireland with Newfoundland in Canada.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 24 May 1989. The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.