Euro2012 Poland-Ukraine

The headline looks appealing: win an InterRail trip for two to Euro 2012. Come on you boys in green! Iarnród Éireann is offering Ireland soccer fans the chance to win a trip to the European football championship, travelling overland from Ireland to Poland. The prize includes tickets for two to Ireland’s three Group games against Croatia, Spain and Italy, courtesy of North Dublin Schoolboys & Schoolgirls League and spending money of €1,000. The winner will be accommodated at a campsite at Poznan. Interested? Then all you have to do is to submit a sample blog post about a journey you have taken or a sporting event you have attended. Looks great. But I always believe in looking at the small print (terms and conditions). It seems that if you are an Ireland soccer fan from the six counties of Northern Ireland, then too bad, you can’t apply! Rule 3: “Applicants must be 18 years of age or over, and must be resident in the Republic of Ireland”. So if you are an Ireland fan from Newry, Portadown, Lurgan, Lisburn or Belfast, or perhaps a Derry City supporter following the club in the airtricity League, then sorry, you can’t apply, unless you happen to live in Donegal, Cavan. Monaghan or anywhere else in the Republic. 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. If you feel excluded then perhaps you should contact and complain. But you need to do so immediately as the closing date for the competition is April 27th. Although I raised this matter with @IrishRail on twitter this morning I have not had any response. Sure I’m only a Northern Ireland resident and of course I would never use Iarnród Éireann or ever think about supporting Ireland as I did at Euro 1988 in Germany……

I can see the Republic of Ireland from here (Co.Tyrone) but I can't enter an Irish Rail compeition!

UPDATE: As the comments below show, the blog attracted a response within hours from Iarnród Éireann defending the terms and conditions for the competition. The issue was also taken up by other outlets including Slugger and BBC NI News website. After the response from the rail company, the following thought occurred. Their marketing experts in designing a competition for RoI residents ONLY did not take into account natives of counties along the border such as Monaghan who might follow their airtricity premier league team as well as the national side, but who happened to reside across the border eg in Aughnacloy, Ballygawley, Middletown or Roslea. I was therefore glad to see that a Monaghan and border region perspective was added by Frank McNally in An Irishman’s Diary in The Irish Times.



  1. Irish Rail says:

    Hi Michael,

    we can’t quite fit the response into 140 characters, so we are posting it here.

    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.

    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.

  2. Aidan O'Kane says:

    Iarnrod Eireann – you should be ashamed of yourselves! Its fine for a couple of young fella from Derry to actually play for ROI but he dare not enter a cross border competition!

    It is 100% discriminatory

  3. [...] 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 [...]

  4. fishbelfast says:

    Frank McNally has taken up the issue in An Irishman’s Diary in The Irish Times. It includes an interesting Monaghan/Donegal perspective.

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