Sinn Féin Post Office motion challenges government closure policy - Gerry Adams TD
Sinn Féin’s motion in support of the Post Office network and criticial of the government passed in the Dáil today.
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams who spoke in the Dáil debate on Tuesday evening said:
“The decision by the government to cull 159 Post Offices from the current network is a direct attack on rural Ireland. It is also in contravention of its own stated commitment in the Programme for Government to provide additional services for Post Offices, including government services i.e. motor tax renewal.
"The erosion of the Post Office network, in addition to the closure of Garda stations, rural schools and transport systems is having a hugely damaging impact on rural communities.
"The loss of more Post Offices, on top of those closed by Fianna Fáil, means that a vital social hub for local people, especially older citizens, will reinforce the sense of isolation many of them feel. This increases mental health issues, heightens loneliness and the risk of suicide.
"There are additional services which could, and should be delivered via post offices as outlined in the 2016 Kerr report. These include; extended financial services; government services; maintaining the electoral register; and issuing motor taxes. All this will keep jobs and services in rural areas.
"The reality is that while in government both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have subverted the Post Office system and undermined the provision of services to rural Ireland.
"What the Post Office network needs from this government is a coherent, properly resourced strategy with firm proposals that will secure the future of Post Offices and of the thousands who are employed by it.
"In the Programme for Government agreed by Fine Gael and Labour in 2011 there was a firm promise to ‘ensure that the network of post offices around the country is maintained and that communities have access to adequate postal services locally.’ It didn’t happen.
"The Programme for Government in 2016 was even more specific in its support for the Post Office Network and it promised that the government would act swiftly on the recommendations of the Post Office Business Development Group.
"Very clearly this hasn’t happened. Sinn Féin’s successful motion now puts the government on notice to revise its closure proposals for the Post Office network.”