Unity okay, but let's make it practical…

Interesting line from Daily Ireland, which welcomed the SDLP’s Unity paper launched yesterday. But puts the emphasis not on the big picture political headlines, but “what’s really needed are some simple measures to enable our phone, postal and banking systems, North and South of the Border, to work seamlessly”.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    The Daily Ireland is an IRA-sympathising rag which fans the flames of hatred against anyone or anything British.
    That is the long and short of it, so you can understand why I have no interest whatsoever regarding their views on the SDLP’s unattainable dream of Irish “Unity”!

  • aquifer

    Yes but have you ever tried to post anything to Dublin, nor noticed how much phone calls cost.

    This “Belfast Boycott” has been operated profitably by the ROI government since the 1920’s and so called nationalists seem to have hardly noticed.

    Maybe they don’t like co-operative and incremental unity, keeping economic integration measures back to include in a unity package that would still include the gaelic cultural baggage. Maybe cash just counted for more than republican principles.

    Followers of Paisley blocked the Dublin train in 1966, but the IRA carried on this particular tradition of economic partitionism.

  • beano

    “Yes but have you ever tried to post anything to Dublin, nor noticed how much phone calls cost.”

    From BT’s website T&Cs:
    “The Republic of Ireland option is not available to customers in Northern Ireland, as calls from Northern Ireland to Republic of Ireland are charged at the appropriate BT Together Option rates.”
    In other words, calls to the Republic are charged like calls to anywhere else in the UK. Am I missing something? AFAIK we’ve always been charged national rate for calls to the South.

  • PS

    All i know for certain from BT is that there is a fixed rate monthly package available where calls to both the UK and Ireland are not charged for.

  • beano

    That would be option 3, the dearer one. On their standard tarriff, option 1, which they have moved all customers who had not previously selected an option to, it’s 5½p/hr evenings and weekends. Hardly financially crippling.

  • PS

    No but it still doesn’t make any sense that I could phone somebody a few miles away in Castleblayney and it would cost more than a call to London.

  • Keith M

    A first step would be to create one common telephone zone for the British Isles (the same as happens for USA and Canada).

  • Henry94

    VOIP is going to make this discussion redundant pretty quick

    Subscribtion based phone services will mean there won’t be an Irish or a British phone system.

    The real question is are we alert enough smart enough and adaptable enough to get in on the act and make a few bob out of it.

    The south is but the north isn’t. We need them more than they need us.

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    There was a discussion here on all-Ireland phone tariffs a while back, for those of you who may have missed it first time.

    Henry makes a very good point about VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol.) Anyone with a broadband internet connection can make calls from their computer for free. This protocol is worldwide, and so doesn’t recognise international borders. It’s like when you log onto Slugger, which is about Northern Ireland, is written by Mick who lives in England, and is hosted in the USA (IIRC.)

    If you haven’t tried VoIP yet, download Skype (it’s free!) Calls to other Skype users are free (anywhere in the world) and you can make calls to landlines (also anywhere in the world) for a fraction of what it would cost going through your regular telecoms provider.

  • maca

    “VOIP is going to make this discussion redundant pretty quick”

    A small problem. Broadband in Ireland sucks, both quality & coverage!!
    Any Southerners here use Voip? How’s the quality?

    Great technology though. Which reminds me, I’ve been meaning to get a mic…

  • Gerry O’Sullivan


    Broadband in Ireland sucks, both quality & coverage!!

    Agreed, but it’s getting better. There’s some competition coming into the market now, so that can only be good for the consumer. Eircom recently announced that it would increase speed for its regular users from 512Kb/s to 1Mb/s (which is still a good bit off the pace, internationally speaking), but at least it’s a start. Hopefully contention rates will improve too before long. As regards coverage, here is where our northern friends have the upper hand, as NI is the only region so far in the UK with 100% broadband coverage. I don’t know the exact coverage rate in the Republic, but by all accounts we have some way to go.

    Any Southerners here use Voip?


    How’s the quality?

    Excellent :o)

  • beano

    “No but it still doesn’t make any sense that I could phone somebody a few miles away in Castleblayney and it would cost more than a call to London.”

    Sorry to go back a few posts but the main thrust of my argument was that: it doesn’t. It costs 5½p whether it’s to London, Edinburgh,Belfast or Dublin!

    As for VOIP, I’ve never tried it, but for those of you stuck in the stone ages there are plenty of companies like 1899.com giving exceedingly cheap international calls.

  • maca

    1Mb ain’t bad. It should definitly be enough for most users.
    What’s 1Mb cost monthly there?

    I was on 1Mb ADSL for €33/mth then got a digibox with net connection for $26/mth.

  • Gerry O’Sullivan


    The usual monthly fee you could expect to pay is about €30-40 per month. A couple of them also bundle in cheap/free call deals too. Smart Telecom are the new kids on the block and are rolling out over the next couple of months at €35/mth for a 2Mb service.

    I read recently that NTL are currently testing 18Mb in the UK…

  • maca

    Hmm, not so cheap. Line rental included?

    18mb??? *droool*

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    Line rental included?

    ‘Fraid not.

    Here’s the 18Mb NTL story.