Exporters make appeal to Minister

 

THE Minister for Communications, Mr Lowry, has been urged to delay the introduction of planned increases for leased lines, because it could hit exporting firms.

The Irish Exporters Association (IEA) said yesterday that the increases - which will be introduced starting next month - will be as high as 90 per cent in some cases. The charges will affect firms renting leased lines for business in Ireland and the UK," according to Mr Colum MacDonnell, IEA chief executive, who added that the increases could not come at a worse time for firms doing business with the UK. "They are already hard pressed trying to cope with the high value of sterling and these increases in telecommunication charges may be the straw that breaks the camel's back."

Mr MacDonnell said he knew of one firm which will face increased charges of £250,000 in April this year followed by a further increase of £125,000 in April 1997. He added that up to 2,000 firms may be affected.

Mr MacDonnell said the Minister should instruct Telecom to phase in the increases over a much longer period, possibly 10 years.

The increases, which are up to 500 per cent in some cases, were granted by the Minister after Telecom said that its previous charges meant Telecom was effectively subsidising our competition.

The main users of leased - or dedicated lines - are financial institutions and companies such as Esat Telecom which uses the lines to compete for national and international call business.