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An Post policy putting jobs at risk – O'Clochartaigh

4 July, 2013

Speaking in the Seanad today on the future of the post office network, Sinn Fein Senator Trevor O’Clochartaigh highlighted the central role of post offices in rural communities, which have been jeopardised by An Post’s policy of rationalisation.

Senator O’Clochartaigh said:

“The post office network is a key national resource and it is important that it is seen as more than a commercial entity.

“The network serves an important social role in communities across the country and is the life blood of many rural communities.

“A number of reports have shown that based on an analysis of staff and systems the network has the capability to facilitate additional services.

“As it stands turnover is derived from three main sources of revenue of this, banking accounts for 3%, social welfare for 29%, National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) saving contracts for 27%, and traditional post for 16%.

“This means that taken together social welfare and NTMA contracts account for 56% of total revenue, which suggests a high dependence on state related contracts for survival.

“In terms of strength, the network has one of Ireland’s largest customer bases. The post office also occupies a central place in the life of communities across Ireland.  

“In my own county of Galway, local post offices in the rural hinterland are now under severe strain as a direct result of An Post’s policy of rationalisation, some of which makes no economic or social sense.

“For example where is the logic in expecting the local postmistress in a small village to drive thirty or forty kilometres from the city to Galway on a daily basis to collect and sort the mail and then bring it back to the village? Yet this is precisely what An Post is currently doing.

“If managed properly and in a sustainable manner the post office network has huge potential. To make this a reality would require diversifying into new areas and a dramatic change of policy from the one currently being pursued by An Post.”

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