EU ministers protecting mobile phone company profits and not consumers, Dáil hears

Fianna Fáil TD says border areas victims of bad EU decision making

A scathing attack has been launched on EU ministers for communication for a “blatant disregard for consumers” while instead “protecting the profits of multinational phone companies”.

Fianna Fáil's Brendan Smith said the reversal of the decision made last year, to abolish roaming charges across the 28 European Union member states by the end of this year, and to delay it until at least 2018, meant that "consumers in border areas are once again the victim of bad decision making in Europe".

Mr Smith said those living in border areas “know that when we go on a journey along the Border, we may at times be on our own networks of 3 or Vodafone but suddenly a British network can be used, leaving us with exorbitant charges for transacting business and making or receiving calls”.

The Cavan-Monaghan TD said it was “absolutely deplorable” that the communications Ministers of the European Union agreed to reverse a decision made last year.


He asked what proposals the Irish Government and Department of Communications put forward “on behalf of the Irish people at the recent meeting when this decision was made”.

Minister of State Joe McHugh said it was “not an accurate representation of the true position” to say that the EU Council of Ministers or the Commission was acting contrary to consumers’ interests.


“The Minister fully supports harmonised EU actions to eliminate roaming charges but this shared objective has to be achieved in a manner that avoid long-term adverse impacts” on mobile phone users.

He said it was inevitable that mobile phone companies would seek to recover costs from other users or reduce volume limits to control costs and this would not serve the long-term interests of consumers”.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times