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Sinn Féin welcomes decision of O2 to end roaming charges on island of Ireland

8 February, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications, Seán Crowe TD has welcomed the announcement by mobile phone company O2 that it is to end the practice of charging 'roaming rates' for calls made on the island of Ireland.

Deputy Crowe said "Sinn Féin has been consistent on this issue for a long time -- raising it with O2 as far back as 2003. We have argued that mobile phone users, especially around the border region, were being unjustly penalised as a result of their proximity to the border.

"Mobile phone signals no more recognise the artificial border on this island than a free flowing river or a wild animal would and the result is that people on both sides of the border are often incorrectly charged roaming rates, which are significantly higher than normal rates, when they hadn't even left either jurisdiction.

"That these charges are to be ended is a welcome development which I hope will be followed speedily by other mobile phone operators.

"We live on a relatively small island. Even the British Government has acknowledged the merits of promoting our economic development on an all-Ireland basis. Clearly O2 also see the merits of this and have acted accordingly. What we need now is a more concerted effort across all aspects life on this island, be it transport, health or tourism or whatever, to build an island wide social and economic infrastructure which will benefit all the people living on this island." ENDS

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