Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath, James Bannon, has called on the Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte TD, to address concerns regarding the future viability of the post office network.
Deputy Bannon was speaking after the Fine Gael Internal Communications Committee met this week with members of the Irish Postmaster’s Union (IPU)
“Fine Gael actively sought this meeting with the IPU in order to listen to the group’s concerns about the future viability of the An Post network. Fine Gael is fully committed to a strong and viable An Post and we recognise the hugely important role post offices play in local communities, particularly in rural areas.
“I want to see the maximum number of post offices maintained in local communities across the country. Having invested in the computerisation of all post offices, the network is well positioned to become the front office provider of a range of services,” he said.
“An Post has the largest retail presence in the country, and we are lucky to have one of the most extensive post office networks per head of population in the EU. Two thirds of our post offices are in rural areas, providing a very important service to local communities. But the postal network is undoubtedly facing challenges, due in no small part to the fact that mail volumes have fallen by a quarter in the last five years. So a key focus of the network must be to source new revenue sources.
“An Post has made positive progress in diversifying its network, through deals with AIB and Aviva Ireland. It also secured a deal to process local property tax payments. It is important that An Post pitches very strongly for the contract for the Department of Social Protection’s e-payment business when it is put out to tender.
“Fine Gael TDs had a very constructive meeting with members of the IPU, who outlined their concerns in detail. I will continue to actively engage with members of the post office network, and I will be urging Minister Rabbitte to address the various concerns surrounding the future of the network.
“It is essential that postal services are retained through a national network, so it can continue to provide an essential service to local communities.”