The Fianna Fáil Communications Spokesperson, Timmy Dooley has said that he is frustrated by the laissez-faire approach by the government to the rural post office network as representatives of over 1000 postmasters, who operate our post network, meet in Dublin.

“The Post Office Network Renewal Working Group, chaired by Bobby Kerr, was tasked with developing a blueprint for the reinvigoration of the Irish post office network. It was due to report by mid-summer, but no report has been published,” said Dooley.

“Minister Michael Ring is supposedly chairing another working group looking at how post offices could be transformed into Community Hubs. It was announced with much fanfare in the spring, but has met just once since then.”

““There just seems to be no impetus among the Government, and its Ministers to get on with the job of reinvigorating the network. Where is the urgency? People’s livelihoods, and the future of rural communities are at risk,” added Dooley.

“Rural post offices play an important and invaluable role as a focal point of community and commercial activity.”

“Earlier this year, the Department of Social Protection began encouraging people to receive their social welfare payments via bank transfer rather than at their local post office.”

“How can the Government claim to be supportive of the Post Office network when it is undermining its financial stability in such a manner? 30% of all post offices business comes from Social Welfare transactions.

“Fianna Fáil has clear proposals to expand, and transform, our post office network. We suggested among other things motor tax could be paid at the local post office.”

“Post offices are a crucial element of Irish life. The Government must commit to protecting them, and their role in communities up and down the country,” concluded Dooley.