Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Christmas Day Telephone Charges.

Thursday, 18 November 1971

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 256 No. 13

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70.

Mr. Tunney: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will arrange to have special Christmas Day telephone charges made available to the families of Irish troops serving overseas.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. G. Collins): Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard 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: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James 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: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard 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.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Bring them home. They [2571] would be of more use here than they are there.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  That is not a matter for my Department.

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  The Minister might speak to his colleague.


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