‘Withdrawal from digital single market a bad signal’ – McNulty

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Friday, March 9th, 2018

SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty has said that Theresa May’s plan to withdraw from the EU digital single market will see the return of roaming charges and signal dropout along the Irish border.

McNulty said that it’s clear that the British Government ‘has no clue’ about the issue of the border challenge and how many areas of cooperation Brexit threatens to sever.



Speaking to Newry Times, McNulty said, “As a result of our combined membership of the European Union, people in the North and the South no longer pay mobile roaming charges on calls, texts or data. And even before that, European Union directives saw a cap on the costs for roaming charges.

“Theresa May’s order that Britain should leave the digital single market may mean that she has to pay more on a trip to a villa in the south of France but it will have a much more substantial and daily impact on people living in border communities, like those of us whose homes straddle along the border of Newry and Armagh with Monaghan and Louth.



“People living in border communities or working across the border are aware of how often their phone switches to a southern network, depending on which phone mast they’re closest to.

He continued, “Some people have this problem when they move from one room in the house to the next. They have genuine cause for alarm at the prospect of a return to roaming charges, especially those in a potentially non-EU state.

“A van driver travelling south for work could soon be faced a call from Dublin costing the same as one from Dubai –around 30 times the cost before roaming charges were abolished. And the difference in mobile data could be even more unsettling.



“Surfing the internet on your phone in Navan could return to the same cost as in New York – over 100 times more expensive than before charges were scrapped.

The local MLA added, “The British Government needs to get real about the cost of Brexit for people here. The EU has proposed workable solutions based on agreement from the last phase of talks. If Theresa May wants to diverge from her word, then her government must come forward with proposals of its own. The vacuum of leadership can’t continue.”



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