Belfast Telegraph

MLA hits out at cost of sending cross-border mail

BY CATE McCURRY

It's the same price from Strabane to Lifford – as Belfast to Belgrade.

The cost of posting a letter from Northern Ireland to the Republic has been widely criticised by people living on border towns, like Newry and Strabane, who say they are being forced to pay up to four times more to send a letter a mere few miles away.

Royal Mail charges 60 pence to send a standard letter to anywhere in the UK, however the same letter could set you back up to £2.38 if it is sent to anywhere in the Republic.

As listed on the An Post website – Ireland's postal service – it costs €6.50 (£5.54) to send a parcel weighing 1kg from anywhere in the Republic to Northern Ireland. However, the same parcel costs £7.85 if it is sent via Royal Mail from the north to the south.

An Post treat the north as the same postal zone and does not charge additional costs to letters, parcels or packages sent across the border.

Concerns have also been raised regarding the length of time it takes to send items to the Republic. Irritated customers have claimed they had to wait two weeks to receive a letter from the UK.

MLA for West Tyrone Michaela Boyle has hit out at Royal Mail for the extra costs saying it raises questions over the company's international postal policy.

Ms Boyle, who lives in the Strabane area, added that she too has been victim of the high costs.

She said: "A letter sent from Strabane to Lifford, which a less than a mile away, can take up to a week to receive. You can practically see Lifford from the post box.

"If a letter is sent from towns like Newry or Strabane, it goes to the sorting office in Belfast and then in some cases it can go across the water to England and then back again, it just doesn't make sense.

"It's concerning that some of the mail which is sent from the north, in particular border towns, is sent to England only to be sent back again to the same island."

Ms Boyle said the amount Royal Mail charges for stamps to send to the south is "crazy".

"It is very expensive and no-one can understand it," she added.

"Royal Mail should review this and the way they operate their zone prices. It is alarming the cost of sending a letter or parcel to somewhere a few miles away even though An Post treat the north as the same postal area."

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