Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten has announced Government approval to immediately provide €30m of State funding to protect the future of the post office network and the continuation of a five-day postal delivery service to every address in the country.
In a press statement issued after a Cabinet meeting this morning, Minister Naughten said: “The funding will be subject to stringent conditions and key performance indicators, the delivery of which will be monitored on a monthly basis. Financing will be provided in the form of a repayable long-term loan.
The State funding underpins the Government’s commitment to the delivery of services to rural Ireland in particular by ensuring the continued provision of a 5 day week postal delivery service and an expansion to six days for parcels.
“The funding will inject the financial support urgently required to protect the future of the post office network and to substantially change and modernize the business model of An Post in the coming years against the backdrop of a systemic global decline in mail volumes.
Minister Denis Naughten said: “The local post office is an integral part of the fabric of our local community especially in rural areas. As Minister and as a rural TD, I recognise the importance of ensuring that this continues into the future therefore the Government is providing the company with significant State funding to ensure its survival.
An Post has developed a comprehensive strategy to return the company to a sound financial footing and to develop it into a modern and cost effective operation.
“There is no doubt that difficult decisions lie ahead but the reality is that without immediate action we could lose our national postal service. Doing nothing jeopardises the very survival of our national postal service and I am not prepared to let that happen.”
“As well as being an integral part of the fabric of Irish society, the local post office remains the main point of contact with Government for thousands of people. The nationwide reach of the post office network makes it uniquely positioned to act as a gateway to Government.
We intend to enhance the interaction between customers and Government through our postal system.
A new initiative called ‘Digital Assist’ will use the local post office as a digital gateway for Government business.
The proposed strategy put forward by An Post involves splitting the company into two distinct business units An Post Mails and Parcels and An Post Retail.
“An Post is entering into a period of significant change but this change is critical to ensuring the long term success of our national postal service. Doing nothing is simply not an option,” concluded Minister Naughten.