Post Office Network being destroyed by ‘Government Indifference’ – Tóibín
Sinn Féin TD and Chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on Regional and Rural Affairs Peadar Tóibín has said that a couple of months ago, An Post management came to the committee and stated that 500 Post Offices throughout the state were economically unsustainable, while making the point that only one third of farmers in the state are currently considered independently economically sustainable and that large swathes of rural Ireland will be broadband-free for at least another five years.
An Teachta Tóibín said:
“As a result of real regional policies, we are witnessing economic activity and population continuously migrate to the Dublin region to such a degree that its estimated that Dublin will contain 50% of the population of the state be in the years to come. If the current trend continues, Ireland will develop into a city state with ‘a 21 county national park’.
“Our post office network is disintegrating. What is an invaluable service, especially in rural Ireland and in our most isolated communities, has been allowed, under the watch of the government to become more and more unviable.
“We have been waiting many months to hear details of Minister Michael Ring’s report. We have been waiting over a year to hear how the Kerr Report, published last January would be implemented. Painfully and slowly, we have been subjected to a drip feed of leaks to the media. Now, we hear that potentially hundreds of post offices are to close.
“I wholeheartedly support the diversification of post offices and allow for a greater range of services to be offered. However, I question why this is taking the government so long to put in place. They have known for years that our post offices needed radical action to remain sustainable and yet sat on their hands – or worse.
“198 post offices closed during Fine Gael’s last stint in Government, meaning a further loss for communities already experiencing the devastating effects of emigration and cuts to public services. I am urging the Government to act constructively and seize the opportunity that our post offices and their vital infrastructure offer communities.
“With the necessary political will, we could see a rejuvenation of our post offices, an expansion of services; from financial services, to social enterprise and public service delivery. Sinn Féin will fight for our post offices throughout the country and oppose at every level the blinkered privatisation agenda of the Fine Gael/‘Independent’ and Fianna Fáil-backed Government.”