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Gildernew raises concerns over proposed closures with Post Office Limited

7 May, 2008

Sinn Féin Rural Development Minister, Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, met with Post Office Ltd officials to discuss the impact of the ongoing network change programme on rural communities.

Post Office Ltd is undergoing a comprehensive network change programme to restructure their service provision, in line with minimum access criteria set down by Government. This proposes the closure of 27 rural branches and replacement of a further 54 rural branches with a form of Outreach Service.

After the meeting Minister Gildernew said:

"I recently raised my concerns over these closures with Postwatch NI, the consumer watchdog. My officials have also met with Rural Community Network (RCN) who have been establishing how these proposals will affect the people on the ground, and in particular the more vulnerable in society. Although post offices are not a devolved matter, I was keen to take the opportunity to raise the concerns of rural communities with Post Office Ltd."

The Minister continued:

"I was able to discuss some of the issues regarding the assessment process for the closures and relay my dissatisfaction with the short consultation period. I would again urge everyone to contribute to the consultation process. This is an opportunity to make their views known and assist in the development of a service which caters to their needs. I will continue to press for a network which caters for the needs of the entire rural community." ENDS

Notes to Editors

Post Offices are a reserved matter and the responsibility of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), formerly the Department of trade and Industry.

The North of Ireland area Plan was put out to public Consultation on the 1st April with a six week response time.

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