As the BBC reports, Belfast-based freelance journalist Michael Fisher has taken exception to the terms and conditions of an Iarnród Éireann competition “to win an amazing trip for two with a difference to see Ireland’s three group games in Euro 2012 this June”. Well, one condition in particular – “Applicants must be 18 years of age or over, and must be resident in the Republic of Ireland” [added emphasis]. From Michael Fisher’s Border Rambler blog
This is a clear case of discrimination, where marketing people have not acknowledged the fact that hundreds of Ireland supporters are resident in some cases a few hundred yards across the border along the railway line between Dublin and Belfast. Yet they are not allowed to enter this competition.
And in the comment zone, a prompt [3 hours later] response from Irish Rail
Iarnród Éireann as a company trades in the Republic of Ireland only across its DART, Commuter and Intercity services.
All competitions and promotions which Iarnród Éireann carry out therefore have always been open to residents of the Republic of Ireland only, which is our core customer and potential customer base. This promotion is no different in this respect. It is not at all discriminatory as it is open to all residents of the Republic of Ireland, which is where we trade, over 18 years of age. [added emphasis]
The Enterprise service is of course jointly operated by Iarnród Éireann and Translink, but all sales of tickets and marketing and promotional activity aimed at customers whose journeys originate in the ROI are carried out by Iarnród Éireann, with all sales of tickets and marketing and promotional activity aimed at customers whose journeys originate in Northern Ireland carried out by Translink. Such arrangements are commonplace in cross-border rail operations across Europe.
Adds From Sinn Féin’s Barry McElduff
“This is inherently unfair and partitionist.