Fianna Fáil TD for Waterford Mary Butler says her party is committed to introducing a series of measures aimed at supporting the post office network.

Deputy Butler has been critical of the outgoing Government for pursuing policies which have undermined post offices. The newly elected TD says a change in direction is needed to ensure post offices remain at the centre of community life.

“I recently met with representatives from the Irish Postmasters’ Union to discuss the challenges facing our post offices in the years ahead. Serious concerns were expressed regarding the manner in which the Government is attempting to re-direct business away from post offices. This underhand targeting of post offices needs to end,” said Deputy Butler.

“The Department of Social Protection has issued letters on a number of occasions asking social welfare recipients to collect their payments from a bank instead of their local post offices. This is having a detrimental impact on post offices. The payment of social welfare accounts for over 30% of all business transactions in post offices. Moving these payments to banks will only lead to a permanent decline of post offices.

“Post offices are vital for maintaining the fabric of community life in both urban and rural areas. They are the centre of community activity. The Government should be doing everything in its power to strengthen the post office network. Unfortunately it is doing the exact opposite. Acting Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton needs to tell her department officials to stop asking people to switch business away from post offices.

“Fianna Fáil is committed to strengthening the post office network. We set out our vision for the network as far back as 2014 when we pushed for the expansion of new products and services to be made available at post offices. Postmasters are willing to be flexible and expand services. All they ask for in return is for fair play from the Government,” concluded Deputy Butler.