Residents of the picturesque town of Westport, County Mayo are being driven to distraction by their confused countrymen attempting to call UK-based late night smut channel Babestation sans international dialling code.
By not including the digits 44, instead of being routed through to the home of "Sexy UK Models, Glamour Girls and Babes", callers are instead routed to the four times winner of the Ireland's Tidiest Town competition.
The plight of Westport’s phone users has been highlighted by the delightfully named Regional Development Minister Michael Ring who said the situation had left residents “aggravated and annoyed” though not, apparently, hot and bothered.
While rural Ireland may seem, a long way away from, well, anywhere, the fact is with family dispersed around the countryside, and indeed the world, a late night phone call is likely to be associated with a family emergency.
Struggling to phone in the dark before being confronted with a panting voice saying exactly what they’d like to do with Caty Cole and Mica Martinez is unlikely to bring the adrenaline levels down soon. (It seems Babestation’s performers are all highly alliterative, not unlike Mr Ring.)
According to the Irish Independent, Irish regulators COMREG and BAI are all at loss as to what to do about the problem, as are local police. The UK’s Phone-Paid Services Authority is apparently looking into the issue, but has yet to come back with a response.
However according to The Journal, a spokesperson for communications minister Denis Naughten has promised to “get to the bottom of the issue”.
It’s not totally clear how much of an effort has been made to contact Babestation direct, but let’s face it, who wants to explain that entry when your itemised phone bill comes through.
Westport is very close to Croagh Patrick, an ancient site of pilgrimage. Climbing to the top of the 764 meter scree-strewn mountain is considered very good for the soul. Doing so barefoot, or even better, on your knees is even more soul healing. Perhaps a recorded message for confused callers to this effect might do the trick. Then again, repeated exhortations to get on your knees might just confuse matters. ®