Vodafone must reconsider its mean-spirited decision to stop providing free calls and texts for Ukrainian refugees fleeing their war-torn country, according to Fine Gael Senator Garret Ahearn.
Senator Ahearn said, “I am dismayed to learn that Vodafone Ireland is stopping the offer of vital connectivity services to refugees fleeing Ukraine who want to keep in touch with friends and family they have left behind.
“According to media reports today, a company executive has said there is ‘no more value’ in offering free mobile services to Ukrainians, as it costs more money for companies to run.
“A company spokesperson reportedly said free roaming services to Ukraine had been rolled out as a temporary measure only, and that it would still support the provision of SIMs with free credit.
“I think the millions of people who have been forced to leave Ukraine, as well as the NGOs working on their behalf, would beg to differ as they still deserve help and support from all stakeholders for however long this war should continue.
“Vodafone Ireland had established a presence at Dublin and had distributed thousands of free SIM cards for those arriving, with three months Vodafone X free calls to Ukraine and an allocation of international calls across the EU so people can could call those displaced around the EU.
“It has been providing help in a number of countries through its Vodafone Foundation and said it was offering fast-track employment opportunities for those displaced by the crisis.
“The response from Vodafone is in stark contrast to that of the Irish people, who regard this crisis as a longer-term situation and have opened up their homes for months and possibly years to refugees who are in such a vulnerable position
“Government have likewise provided excellent wraparound supports and services to those arriving here.
“Vodafone would do well to demonstrate compassion here by enabling Ukrainian refugees to phone home without worrying that they do not have enough credit. I would urge Vodafone to show leadership here and do the right thing.”