Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has described a decision by the EU Member States to delay the abolition of roaming charges as anti-consumer.  The charges, which affect all mobile users travelling around the EU, are set to remain in place until 2018 at the earliest.

Deputy Smith commented, “The decision by the EU Member States shows a blatant disregard for consumers.  This move prioritises large multinational mobile phone companies at the expense of their customers.  Mobile phone users will have to wait at least three years to see these punitive charges abolished.

“These delays will have a disproportionate effect on people living in border areas like Cavan and Monaghan as many people spend time in the North through work, or simply have to cross over the border to get from one town to another.  No other part of the country is affected by these charges in this way.  The British mobile phone networks also encroach on many areas south of the border.

“The European Parliament last year approved a package which would have ended roaming charges altogether from December 2015. Unfortunately, the decision by Members States to kick the can down the road until 2018 will result in Irish consumers paying roaming fees for the next three years.

“Communications Minister Alex White must explain why the government agreed to approve this delay tactic, which sees the profits of large mobile phone companies put ahead of their customers.  Once again Irish consumers are taking the hit for big business, and this government has done nothing to stop it”.