Concerns raised over cross border postal charges and delays

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Monday, October 13th, 2014
Speaking in the Assembly during a motion discussing cross border postal costs and time delays, Newry & Armagh Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon said that local businesses are reliant on the cross border service with ‘almost half’ of respondents to a survey reporting it was “absolutely essential” to their operation.

Sinn Fein MLA Megan Fearon

The motion which was passed called on the Enterprise Minister to raise the issues of cost and time delays at the most recent North South Ministerial Council meeting. “My constituency of Newry & Armagh know only too well the barriers that local people and businesses face along the border,” Fearon told Newry Times. “Citizens are not well served by the border in the provision of health and education and environmental protections and jobs, banking charges, business costs, mobile phone charges and the costs of postal services. “Whilst I welcome that the Ofcom report that shows high levels of satisfaction with our postal services within the North, this shouldn’t mask the problems and issues in terms of cross border postal services. “Despite the geographical proximity of Ireland north and south consumers face an average delivery time of between two and three working days when posting or receiving mail from the south of Ireland.” Offering a solution the Sinn Féin elected representative said, “In order to address this we require an integrated approach to postal services across this island. “Back in 2010 Consumer Focus Post called on the main postal service providers (Royal Mail and An Post) and their respective Regulators (Postcomm andComReg) to work together to provide a faster more consumer-driven service which reflects the demands of consumers and the importance of a more effective postal service – in developing the island economy through cross-border trade. “Four years on we have seen little if any improvement. CFP report showed 68% of businesses in north send post to the south with 85% stating it was fairly important, almost half said it was essential to their business. “Ofcom report shows that 47% of people are unsatisfied with the costs involved of posting a standard letter never mind larger documents or parcels. Sinn Féin have called for the introduction of a single pricing structure for mail to anywhere on the island of Ireland, which is regarded by most as perfectly reasonable,” she added.
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