Thursday, 18 November 1971
Dáil Eireann Debate
Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. G. Collins): We have no special or preferential telephone charges of any kind, that is, charges for the benefit of particular users more favourable than those available to subscribers and users generally. Moreover, rates for foreign calls are governed by international regulations and agreements. These do not provide for the granting of preferential rates to particular users as proposed. For these reasons I regret I am unable to accede to the Deputy's request.
Mr. Tully: I gather that the Minister has expressed regret but does he not think that on this special day the least we might do for these people who are abroad is to allow them the one communication which they can have with their families at a reduced rate?
Mr. G. Collins: We have troops stationed in Cyprus, Israel and Egypt. The rate for a three minute call to Cyprus is £2.25; to Israel £3 and to Egypt £3. Of the charge of £2.25 for a call to Cyprus approximately £2.10 of that is paid to other administrations for helping us to get through on our links to there. We are governed by international regulations and agreements on this and I am afraid my Department can do nothing about it. There are other difficulties too. There are very few lines to Cyprus, something like four, and it would not be practicable to have all our troops in Cyprus ringing home on Christmas Day. I am afraid I and my Department can do nothing to help. I should like to be in a position to do it but I cannot.
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