Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Doherty slams Government over failure to properly finance An Post

16 November, 2004

Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse Doherty has slammed the Government's decision not to give small rural postmasters a supplementary income. Councillor Doherty was responding to a report by the Irish Postmasters Union warning that up to 700 small rural post offices will close in the next five years if the Government do not support them.

Speaking in Donegal today he said:

This Government has continually failed to live up to its social obligations to support An Post. The reality is that 300 rural post offices have already closed in the last three years and a further 700 are now at risk in the next five years. The loss of post offices will have a devastating affect on rural communities and can lead to the loss of other services and further depopulation.

It is the responsibility of the Government to provide adequate postal services to people in isolated rural areas just as it is in urban areas. The Minister for Communications, Mr. Noel Dempsey, has turned his back on people in rural areas.

Half of the current postmasters and postmistresses earn less than the minimum wage with many earning as little as €8,000 per year. This is simply not sustainable and the Minister needs to provide a supplementary income to give them the minimum wage at the very least if these people are to stay in the service. I call on the Minister to reverse his decision and provide this much needed income in order to keep post offices open and to provide this basic service to people in isolated rural areas." ENDS

Connect with Sinn Féin