“Such arrangements are commonplace in cross-border rail operations across Europe.”

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.

Indeed.

Adds  From Sinn Féin’s Barry McElduff

“This is inherently unfair and partitionist.

But we’ve been here before…  [“are you serious?” – Ed]  Heh.

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  • cynic2

    ” it is open to all residents of the Republic of Ireland, which is where we trade, ”

    Absolutely bang on. Pretending there is no border is a form of self delusion

  • HeinzGuderian

    What’s the 2nd prize,Englands group games ?

  • Dec

    ‘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’

    I would question the business plan of an organisation which restricts it’s ‘potential customer base’ to those purely within state borders. Thankfully the FAI and FIFA are not so blinkered, eh Pete?

  • Dec

    cynic

    Pretending there is a border with checkpoints and fences and irritable guard dogs and that thousands of people don’t regularly commute across it on a daily basis without any hindrance whatsoever is equally delusional.

  • Pete Baker

    Adds From Sinn Féin’s Barry McElduff

    “This is inherently unfair and partitionist.

    But we’ve been here before… [“are you serious?” – Ed] Heh.

  • Dec

    Bit rich of you to accuse others of retreading old ground.

  • Dec – did you miss the part where Translink is IE’s partner in NI? Not their competitor? If Translink is getting the revenue from NI sales, what’s the upside for IE to sell to NI residents?

    Of course, the Enterprise should have been tendered out to Branson or someone else years ago, since neither NIR or IE have the resources to run the service needed – 100mph and hourly frequency, like the Dublin-Cork line. Instead it’s 90mph (sort of) and occasional service with 75mph commuter railcars subbed in by IE when the Enterprise units go tech because they STILL haven’t commissioned the Class 22000 trains to go north of Dundalk, despite paying for the necessary equipment in the first six trains delivered.

  • cynic2

    Dec

    “I would question the business plan of an organisation which restricts it’s ‘potential customer base’ to those purely within state borders.”

    Ok then either get elected in the Republic or apply for the Chief Exec’s job. But iof the Irish State wants to freely subsidise public transport in NI I don’t think we should object. How much are they good for?

  • cynic2

    Dec

    The border here is just the same as that between France and Germany, Belgium, etc. But its still a border between nation states

  • harpo

    Isn’t this part of the cost of being an independent country?

    Sometimes things will come up against the border.

    Is it unfair that Irish people in England, Spain, Australia and the USA can’t enter this competition either? Why do Irish people in one small part of the UK think they are entitled to something that Irish people in other parts of the UK (and in other countries) are not entitled to?

  • harpo

    “I would question the business plan of an organisation which restricts it’s ‘potential customer base’ to those purely within state borders. Thankfully the FAI and FIFA are not so blinkered, eh Pete?”

    Most businesses around the world limit contests to their own country. I see lots of contests on US TV stations, but they are limited to residents of the USA.

    Are you saying that those US companies should allow Canadians to enter, as potential customers?

  • harpo

    “The border here is just the same as that between France and Germany, Belgium, etc. But its still a border between nation states”

    Quite right Dec.

    If these folks want to enter a contest that is open to ROI residents then they need to move to the ROI.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    I always find trying to get Ireland tickets a nightmare. I’m going to the Spain – Ireland game in Gdansk and managed to wheel and deal four tickets from my spanish friend who’s a member of the spanish football federation but can’t go coz it’s his dad’s 60th.

    Indicientally he accidently ordered (and got) four when I only wanted three so I have a spare if anyone’s interested.

    Also, what is anyone doing for accommodation?

  • SK

    “But its still a border between nation states”

    _____

    Accusing others of self-delusion before going to on describe Northern Ireland as a “nation state” no less. Brilliant.

  • tacapall

    “Why do Irish people in one small part of the UK think they are entitled to something that Irish people in other parts of the UK (and in other countries) are not entitled to”

    Obviously the Orange Order believe so.

    “The Orange Order has been given a European Union grant of £884,000 to address the legacy of the Troubles in the Protestant community.”

    “The ultimate aim is to allow the Protestant communities to become more comfortable in themselves and feel able to move forward with inter-community and cross border reconciliation,” Mr McKeown said”

  • Dec

    ‘Dec – did you miss the part where Translink is IE’s partner in NI? Not their competitor? If Translink is getting the revenue from NI sales, what’s the upside for IE to sell to NI residents?’

    No i didn’t, but that line of reasoning would appear to preclude the possibility that people living along the border may choose to avail of train services from southern stations, which was the point the original blog mentions.

    Cynic

    Find out what a Nation State actually is and then come back to me.

  • harpo

    “Accusing others of self-delusion before going to on describe Northern Ireland as a “nation state” no less. Brilliant.”

    SK:

    The UK is a nation state. The border between NI and the ROI is a border between the UK and the ROI.

  • sherdy

    How often do we see competitions and shopping offers in English newspapers using the small print ‘not available in NIreland. Same goes for insurance companies, so we should be used to the cold shoulder by now.

  • tacapall

    “Absolutely bang on. Pretending there is no border is a form of self delusion”

    Strangely enough I like thousands of other Nationalist and I couldn’t guess how many protestants who were born and have lived all our lives in the 6 counties carry Irish passports so in reality the border your talking about is imaginary, a bit like the border between Scotland and Wales. Tell me is there such a thing as a Scottish or Welsh passport can people indigenous to Scotland or Wales get an Irish passport.

  • socaire

    The UK is a state, Britain is an amalgamation of three countries – not a nation – and the six counties of NE Ireland would be in ROI if our army was as big as your army. At present it is a colony. Also it is incorrect to speak of mainland Britain when referring to the six counties of NE Ireland as we are not a part of Britain and our British/Irish are running out of gene transfers.

  • alan56

    This is a mischievious story with no real import. Are we seriously to expect every organisation to run competitions etc on both sides of the border? For a start there are different regulatory rules surrounding these competitions in each jurisdiction. This is a divisive and non-sensical non-story.

  • jthree

    Mark if you believe that having Branson’s mob run the Enterprise would improve it I can deduce that you are not a regular user of Virgin Trains.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Hearing the story on Nolan this morning this struck me as an example of a situation where our politicians have simply not had their eye on the ball for quite some time, and as such where Barry McIlduff has missed the point.

    Enterprise is an example of a service jointly run by two states (and indeed has been since the later days of the old Stormont government), where there is as yet no evidence of any serious, formal cross border co-operation relating to it beyond the (limited) interaction of the two operating companies. For example, allowing for the exchange rates, the fare between the same two points is very different depending on which side of the border the ticket is purchased on.

    This is because Enterprise is not run, as it should be, by a single company with a single management and a single strategy. Correcting this problem does not require privatization, it merely requires a bit of work of the kind which seems ideal for the cross-border bodies which are supposed to sort out matters of mutual co-operation. It’s a shame Barry doesn’t divert his efforts that way rather than launching into an ineffective tirade against Irish Rail management who have little control over policy in this area.

    The funny thing is that Sinn Fein until recently had control of DRD and they could have at least tried to initiate something to do this. But no, under Conor Murphy’s management, precisely nothing was done to enhance or improve the island’s only cross-border railway.

    This doesn’t even begin to address the way the service has shamefully stagnated in the 15 or so years since it was revamped. The timekeeping has slipped, the reliability is poor – it has taken years to implement the proposals to deal with the reliability issues of the locomotives – and the ticket prices remain uncompetitive.

  • orly

    Next thing you’ll be demanding to vote in their elections or vice versa…
    Maybe suggest you are entitled to their welfare payments?

  • Pete Baker

    alan56

    “This is a divisive and non-sensical non-story.”

    Partitionist!

  • HeinzGuderian

    Ah Pete,if only you had enclosed the qualifier,”only Unionist posters need reply” 😉

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s worth adding that Translink offered discounted pre-booked web fares to travellers in Northern Ireland for quite a few years before Irish Rail did.

    Those fares were only available in Northern Ireland. I do recall complaints, but I don’t remember anyone from Ireland’s only all-island political party saying a word about it.

  • sdelaneys

    “…hundreds of Ireland supporters are resident in some cases a few hundred yards across the border along the railway line between Dublin and Belfast.” That would have to be Killnasaggart, we used to have an irregular train halt there in the good old days.
    Isn’t it wonderful that wee Barry has something so important to worry about and take his mind off the cuts in education his mate John is imposing and his friend in Health doing likewise..

  • SK

    It’s a real victory for unionism Pete, so well done for pointing it out.

  • Pete Baker

    Whatever, SK…

  • Harpo: “Are you saying that those US companies should allow Canadians to enter, as potential customers?”

    Many Canadian contests are not open to people in the province of Quebec, never mind the mob south of the border, because they have odd laws on contests, lotteries and the like.

    jthree: “Mark if you believe that having Branson’s mob run the Enterprise would improve it I can deduce that you are not a regular user of Virgin Trains.” Guilty as charged 🙂 I suppose I just liked the notion of a nice red train instead of that dull maroon.

  • keano10

    Dont worry Pete,

    There are 20,000 Irish fans heading out to The Euros including several thousand from The North. We will be there in force supporting our nation and there will be a few Northerners in The Squad as well.

  • cynic2

    can people indigenous to Scotland or Wales get an Irish passport.

    If they qualify then they can

    And by the way I hold both British and Irish passports but recognise that they are issued by two separate states

  • cynic2

    “This is a divisive and non-sensical non-story.”

    That’s why the Shinners are following it up then

  • SK

    “Whatever, SK…”

    ______

    You are easily the most mature and interesting contributor on the site.

    My corner shop here in Dublin is currently holding a raffle. Now I can’t say for certain, but they might also be excluding residents of NI if you’d like to write about that in your next instalment.

  • I wonder which solid upstanding citizen was responsible for this?
    http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/0418/brick-dropped-onto-moving-train-at-lisburn.html

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    Awww c’mon!!! No takers for my ticket?!

  • andnowwhat

    Such a non story as anyone familiar with how often NI is excluded form GB competitions.

    There was uproar about NI being excluded from a recent Iceland competition.

  • Pete Baker

    I see the standard of comprehension on evidence here remains as shocking as ever.

    “This is a divisive and non-sensical non-story.”

    “My corner shop here in Dublin is currently holding a raffle…”

    “Such a non story…”

    Don’t tell me. Tell Barry McElduff. You know, the Sinn Féin MLA whose statement is linked above. Here it is again. Apparently, he “will be bringing these views to the attention of Iarnród Éireann as soon as possible.”

    Don’t hold your breath.

    As for andnowwhat’s Iceland story.

    an area manager for Iceland in Northern Ireland, Stephen McCavery, said: “Originally it was the intention of the company to run a competition for the Jubilee. The prize was that someone in every store would win party food for a street party. For obvious reasons we knew in some areas of Northern Ireland that would be very popular and in other areas it wouldn’t be.”

    Mr McCavery said they initially decided on a trolley dash which would “cater for both sides of the community”.

    “If people wanted to use it for a Jubilee party, fair enough, and if they wanted to use it for something else, fair enough,” he said.

    “One of our great aims with the stores in Northern Ireland is that they are politically neutral. It is not our job to get involved in the politics of Northern Ireland. All we want to do is sell chips and peas.”

    He said when they picked up from their Facebook site that customers wanted a Jubilee competition in Northern Ireland, the company reacted by “opening the competition to the people of Northern Ireland”.

    Comprehension problems aside, you do see the difference[s]?

  • SK

    “Comprehension problems aside, you do see the difference[s]?”
    ______

    The only difference is your choice of emphasis.

    Barry McElduff admittedly made a mountain out of a molehill in this instance.

    But Jeffrey Donaldson did precisely the same thing when Iceland was oppressing his poor downtrodden constituents.

    The Iceland statement you quote above was a direct response to the DUP having a hissy-fit over a complete non-issue. Much like Mr McElduff did.

    So, comprehension problems aside, I actually don’t see much of a difference at all.

  • Pete Baker

    My “choice of emphasis”?

    Between two ‘non-issues’, one of which I was unaware of until andnowwhat introduced it into this comment zone. A quick Google found the Iceland response.

    “I actually don’t see much of a difference at all.”

    And I see that those problems with comprehension continue…

  • SK

    A spaceman was an excellent choice of avatar for you, Pete.

    -Two hypersensitive politicians hassle two unassuming companies for petty reasons.

    -The two unassuming companies respond by issuing statements, both along the lines of: “take it easy, we’re just tryin’ to make a few quid here.”

    Nope, no parallels there whatsoever.

  • Pete Baker

    Differences, SK. Not parallels…

  • SK

    Parallel, as in to be similar or analogous to.

    You seem to comb the papers for articles such as this. Is it out of a conscious desire to be petty, or are you fulfilling some odd need to confirm that the border is still as relevant as you want it to be?

  • Pete Baker

    “You seem to comb the papers for articles such as this.”

    If only I had the time…

  • Pete Baker

    Did you miss the BBC report on this story?

    Or Barry McElduff on Nolan? Or his Sinn Féin press release?

  • Comrade Stalin

    I suppose I just liked the notion of a nice red train instead of that dull maroon.

    The Enterprise was maroon in the 1970s, right now it’s a mix of light grey and dark green.