Successive governments have ignored vital postal network in rural Ireland - Brian Stanley TD
Sinn Fein Communications spokesperson Brian Stanley TD has said that successive governments have allowed the postal network to limp along and have ignored the services needed for rural Ireland.
Deputy Stanley was speaking as Sinn Féin put forward a Private Members Motion before the Dáil this evening, which aims to prevent the closure of 159 rural post offices
The Laois TD said:
“Fine Gael and Fianna Fail view the Post Office Network, as a burden. From 2000–2001 under Fianna Fáil 732 post offices closed their doors.
"Now Fine Gael want to close 159 more. There have been Garda station closures under this government also, and 542,000 households are still waiting on high speed broadband all across Ireland.
“Post office masters and mistresses are entitled to retire. But this does not mean the post office itself retires.
“We need to address the criteria used by An Post defining a settlement. It does not take into account the true population in rural areas.
"We have a dispersed population. We have one of the most rural populations in Europe. The distance of 15 kilometres to nearest post office will be high cost in taxi fare for a pensioner collecting a weekly pension.
“Co-location is another important issue. This is not being considered seriously. There are many places where a post office can be easily combined with a shop or garage, giving an additional income and most importantly additional services to communities.
“We need additional services in our post offices, such as government services like motor tax renewal. Being the state service in the community will benefit the community and contribute to the community.
“I am asking that Government not to add more empty shops to the streets across rural Ireland. Retain this service. Sinn Féin are calling for a revitalised and energised network, with new services, and community banking across the State and where it is all at the heart of the community.”