The Government must finally wake up to the impending dismantling of the post office network though the mass closure of post offices, and come forward with a comprehensive plan for the network.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and Environment Timmy Dooley has said his party believes that many post offices at risk of closure, whilst not financially profitable, are critical to the lives of the dispersed communities they serve.
“We believe that the Government should engage with An Post to develop a Public Service Obligation model to keep these post offices open and providing essential and additional services in rural communities.
Conservative estimates suggest that almost half the of the country’s 1100 post are currently not financially viable, and are under threat of closure.
“The confirmation from the CEO of An Post that 265 post offices are, in his opinion, in areas of no discernible population should put a fire under Minister Naughten and his officials, and force an urgent review in Government of what our Post Office network should be used for.
“The fact that An Post themselves have made it clear that the future viability of the post office network is on a knife-edge should force the Minister’s hand.
“The Minister’s claims over the last few days that within 90 days, 97% of post offices will have broadband running outside the front door is typical of the current Government’s way of governing – by soundbite without substance.
“The Minister needs to end the soundbites, and accept that it will take a lot more than a fibre optic cable running outside our post offices to save them, and give them a future.
“Minister Naughten must come forward and identify the new services that he believes should be provided in our post offices to make them viable into the future.
“Rather than dangling vague references to potential services and e-transactions, the Minister needs to come forward with a list of services with credible projections as to how these services can make the post offices viable and ensure their continued existence.
“The time for decision making is now; local communities are fearful about the future of their post offices, and what it means for the future of their towns and villages. Minister Naughten must act now,” concluded Dooley.