Access to Postal Network ‘should not be a geographical lottery’ – Stanley
Responding to the announcement by An Post that 161 Post Offices will be closed as part of a voluntary retirement scheme, Sinn Féin TD and Communications spokesperson Brian Stanley has said that closures must not inflict a loss of services and greater isolation on rural communities.
The Laois TD said:
“The voluntary retirement scheme was backed by the membership of the Irish Postmasters’ Union, but this does not absolve An Post of the responsibility to ensure that access to the post office network is a geographical lottery.
“Reform of our post offices has been neglected for a number of years and both An Post and the Government Department need to take positive action. The post office network needs reform.
“Sinn Féin and others have put forward alternatives. Government and local government services can easily be provided through the post office network, such as looking at providing motor tax renewal, small scale banking, and creating digital hubs of the network in the absence the ever slow roll out of the National Broadband Plan.
“Any rural dweller will testify to the economic and social importance of a post office in the community. Garda stations, schools, and other services are gone, so keeping the post office network intact is more important than ever especially in isolated communities.
“Minister for Communications Denis Naughten needs to decide whether rural Ireland matters and he needs to take a hands on approach. There has been a series of reports on the future of our post offices over recent years and there are models in other States where a viable and vibrant post office network is in place.
“Rural Ireland cannot take any more cuts to services, of which postal services are a vital part.”