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Irish Presidency of EU opportune time abolish roaming - Flanagan

21 January, 2013 - by Phil Flanagan

Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has said that the Irish government needs to prioritise the abolition of roaming charges across Europe as part of the Irish Presidency of the EU.

Mr Flanagan, who is the Deputy Chair of the Enterprise, Trade & Investment committee, raised the issue in the Assembly this week, said

“The issue of roaming charges is a huge issue along the border counties, which affects those crossing the border on a regular basis and is a significant barrier to the growth of our economy.

“I have repeatedly raised this issue and very recently, the Committee for Enterprise, Trade & Investment has written to the Joint Committee for Communications and Transport in the Oireachtas to propose working together on addressing the issue of roaming charges in Ireland.

“However, it is clear that abolishing roaming once and for all will is a matter for the European Parliament.

"What we now need to see are measures being brought forward to expedite the abolition of roaming charges in Europe and the current Irish Presidency of the EU is an opportune time to act.

"Being from a border county, I know the extreme challenges being faced by families and businesses who straddle the border in terms of roaming charges.

“During the Assembly this week, I asked the Enterprise Minister to raise this matter with her Dublin counterpart Pat Rabbitte following her positive comments about engaging with Ministers regarding the out=workings of the EU Presidency.

“I have today written to both Ministers urging them to follow up on this and work together to further progress the abolition of roaming charges within the EU.

"There can be no more profiteering at the expense of people in the border region at a time when we need to foster greater linkages and trade ties.

"If enough public and political pressure is brought to bear, there should be no difficulty in complete ease of access to cross-border electronic services whether you live in Cork or Belfast, Cavan or Enniskillen."

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