Action needed to protect Rural Post Office Network – Stanley
Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Communications Brian Stanley has expressed his concern today over reports that 80 post office branches could close across rural Ireland, saying that we need to reinvigorate the network of post offices by extending the services which post offices provide.
The Laois TD stated:
“Rural post offices across Ireland must be protected and their services enhanced.
“The Post Office is a core component of the viability of small towns and villages. Removing this one service provider will have a negative knock-on effect for other services in the town.
“Rural Post offices have faced a series of threats to their viability over recent years. Funding cutbacks, the EU postal services directive, and the move by the Department of Social Protection towards electronic fund transfers in respect of social welfare and pension payments has meant the role of the Post Office has been undermined in Communities across the country.
“The reports today come alongside news of further bank closures in rural Ireland. The withdrawal of banking services from rural Ireland should represent an opportunity for An Post to expand the range of financial services that it offers.
“We need to reinvigorate the network of post offices by extending the services which post offices provide to include motor tax renewals, business rates, rents, and other Government payment services and by the retention of existing services such as social welfare payments
“The Government must also commit to no longer discourage people from doing their business at the post office by recommending direct banking transaction of Government payments.
“We welcome the statement from An Post that no final decision has been made and that the review is ongoing. Rural communities depend upon these post offices.”