O’Brien calls for protection of post offices
Speaking in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central Deputy Jonathan O’Brien called on the government to protect post offices in communities around Ireland. Deputy O’Brien managed to secure a debate on the issue with the Minister for Social Protection following changes to forms that would require persons to get their welfare payments in banks and not post offices.
Deputy O’Brien said:
“Sinn Fein has heard from the post masters and post office staff who will be affected by forms being issued by the Department of Social Protection requesting that people transfer the receipt of their welfare claims to banks rather than post offices.
“Their concerns are not solely based on the issue of profits for their businesses, but on the sustainability of the communities that they live and work within.
“This is not acceptable and displays a clear bias on behalf of the Department in favour of financial institutions over post offices.
“By privileging financial institutions, the department will create untold hardship for ordinary people, some of whom are very vulnerable including pensioners, people with a disability, single mothers, and people in general who have a special relationship with their local post office.
“None of us should be surprised that this government would prioritise assisting banks to get more custom above what is actually good for communities.
“Post offices offer a vital public service and their value should be recognised by the government. Instead of slowly killing off this valuable asset, the government should ensure they are financially viable.
“We are calling on the government to realise the significant impact the loss of welfare payments will have to post offices and put as much effort in to protecting them as they do with banks.”