Government allowing Post Office network to die out - Crowe
Sinn Féin Communications Spokesperson Seán Crowe TD today accused the Government and the Minister for Communications Noel Dempsey of ‘total inaction’ and of ‘standing idly by while postal services in rural and urban working class areas are disintegrating’.
The Dublin South-West TD said: “Without a Government strategy for our postal services network, the local post office as we know it is in grave danger of becoming extinct. Many postmasters and postmistresses cannot afford to run their post offices and are therefore quitting their businesses. This situation will further deteriorate with the decision of the European Court. This requires An Post to put its Government contracts out to tender to fit in with the EU’s proposals for liberalisation and privatisation, to which Sinn Féin remains staunchly opposed. We wish to see a postal network strategy in place which serves the entire population, in public ownership and under democratic control.
“Post offices are very much dependent on Government business, which accounts for a sizeable 70% of turnover. The removal of social welfare contracts from post offices for instance could deal the fatal blow to our local post office network. Over 25% of post offices have closed in just six years, with a mere 84 full post offices remaining. Such closures are having an adverse affect, particularly on elderly people in rural areas, who are being forced by the total inaction of this Government, to travel longer and longer distances to receive their pensions.
“Post offices, which have been very much a vital part of the fabric of communities, are dieing out as Minister Dempsey and this Government casually look on and wait for 2009 when the full liberalisation of the postal market is due to take place. In the meantime the Government is standing idly by while postal services in rural and urban working class areas are disintegrating.”