19 May 2006

South is overseas claims Royal Mail

Daily Ireland

By Padraig O Meiscill

**See Royal Mail delivers record PROFIT

Royal Mail has come under fire over charging international rates for post moving from the North to the South of Ireland.
According to Royal Mail, posted items going to the Republic from the North are “international mail” and should be paid for as such.
An educational institution in Belfast received notification to this effect early in the week, stating: “Republic of Ireland mail should be treated in the same way as any international mail.”
The rate for people in the North of Ireland posting to the Republic is therefore the same as that for people living in England, Scotland and Wales.
Belfast Sinn Féin assembly member Michael Ferguson said: “Along with the extortionate rates we pay for gas, electricity etc., the British government are effectively making us foot the bill for their occupation of the North of Ireland.”
“It’s really illogical when you think about it that somebody posting a letter from Derry to Letterkenny or from Newry to Dundalk should have to pay an international tariff rate, whereas a letter going across the Irish Sea to England is treated as domestic mail” he said.
The West Belfast MLA claimed the tariff would have a negative impact on developing cross-border business. He said: “What we have here is a classic example of partition distorting the entitlements of the Irish people and probably economic growth as well.
“The people who set the rates in Royal Mail need to get their heads round the fact that Belfast and Dublin are in the same country and should be treated as such. The harmonisation of postal costs on the island should clearly become an element of the all-Ireland agenda.”
When contacted, a spokesman for Royal Mail said the tariff was not a recent development and that the North was treated no differently from “the rest of the UK”.

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