Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Michael Moynihan TD, has called on the Government to listen to rural Ireland and take steps to prevent the Post Office network deteriorating further.
Deputy Moynihan was reacting to reports today that franchises like Spar and Mace are in discussions with An Post in relation to establishing ‘Post and Pay’ outlets throughout the country.
“I would have thought that following the message the people gave Fine Gael and Labour at the local elections, that the Government would decide to listen more. The message was loud and clear; stop dismantling rural Ireland. It seems this appeal has fallen on deaf ears.
“Travelling throughout the country before the recent local elections; it was clear that people in rural Ireland are extremely angry at decisions taken by the Government that have decimated the very fabric of rural society.
“The Government has already closed rural Garda stations, small schools are under constant threat of closure, local social welfare offices have been shut and rural bus routes are closing.
“The Post Office has long been the centre of local communities; it serves much more of a purpose than a venue for social welfare and pension payments. It is a place for social interaction and the postmaster was always well-known as a leader of local communities.
“An Post has been in discussions for several months with supermarkets and now shops with a view to allowing them provide ‘Post and Pay’ outlets. If these negotiations come to fruition then it could well sound the death knell for the Post Office network.
“Instead of undermining the financial work that the Post Office network does, Fianna Fáil proposes to enhance and expand An Post’s financial services. Post Offices should become a centre for all state payments and charges.
“The Post Office should be the central location for motor tax, local authority charges and hospital charges.
“The party’s policy document ‘Enhancing our Post Offices: Fianna Fáil’s Vision for the Future of the Irish Post Office Network’ sets out detailed plans for the consolidation of the Post Office network.
“I would encourage Fine Gael and Labour representatives to pay heed to the verdict of the people of rural Ireland and start standing up for their local communities and force a U-turn on this policy.
“As the sole and only shareholder in An Post Minister Pat Rabbitte has a duty to listen to the people of rural Ireland and move to protect the Post Office network.”