Sean Canney Independent TD Galway East has stated that the Post Office network is about to collapse, and branch closures are inevitable without immediate support from Government. As noted by An Post union representatives, from the 1st of July postmaster operated offices face a major challenge as a significant reduction in payment rates, an on average fall of approximately 20% will take effect.
‘We the Regional Group are still awaiting a response from Minister Eamon Ryan. He committed to report back to the Dáil within six months of our Private Member’s Motion on the post office network last October.
‘The Regional Group has continuously pointed out that An Post requires support in the roll out of new services, and the delivery of its strategic plan, to ensure its financial viability. In the meantime, An Post needs immediate intervention until a long-term strategy is put in place to ensure its survival.
‘There must be direct intervention by the Government to develop new State services for the post office network, in line with the previous commitment given to use the network as the offline option for all government services, and to pay a fee of €17 million for this service, as outlined in the Grant Thornton report.
‘There are currently 875 Postmaster and 45 An Post operated post offices in the country. An Post is one of the last Government agents existing in our communities throughout the country and the Government committed to a sustainable nationwide post office network as a key component of the economic and social infrastructure in both rural and urban areas.’
The Regional Group highlighted that the strategy adopted by this Government is to allow Post offices to close before intervening and to support only the most viable, ignoring the fact that post offices are a necessity for those living in regional Ireland. There is a socio-economic benefit for our communities that cannot be easily be measured. The challenges facing rural and regional Ireland and their post offices, needs an urgent response from Government.