Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Michael Moynihan TD, has reacted angrily to the revelation that the payment of water support assistance for families on the Household Benefits Package will by-pass the Post Office and be paid directly into bank accounts.
Deputy Moynihan said this is further evidence of Fine Gael and Labour’s targeted attack on rural Ireland, which has been relentless since it assumed office.
“This latest move by the Government again shows its scant regard for the Post Office network which is the very fabric of rural Ireland. I cannot believe Minister Joan Burton and her Department will only pay the €25 water support assistance payment into people’s bank accounts. At the very least, there should be an option for those in receipt of the Household Benefits Package to receive their payment at the Post Office.
“The Government has spectacularly failed to grasp just how important the Post Office network is to rural Ireland. Post Offices provide communities with essential services and are the lifeblood of many rural villages. Not only do they provide financial and postal services, they combat rural isolation and offer a social outlet for people. Fine Gael and Labour is also considering handing over the payment of some social welfare payments to supermarkets and large retailers, again showing a remarkable failure to recognise the importance of Post Offices.
“Towns and villages across rural Ireland have already been subjected to savage cuts by this Government and have seen important services like Garda stations and small schools closing; rural bus routes were cut while many Post Offices have already been forced to close due to a lack of Government support and investment.
“The Government has bit by bit dismantled many of the elements that saw rural Ireland thrive; a central plank of this is the Post Office network, which is being crippled by the indifference of Fine Gael and Labour.
“Fianna Fáil wants to ensure the sustainability of Post Offices, and particularly ones in rural areas. The party has put forward a range of proposals aimed maintaining and improving the services they provide, and to protect the network into the future. The policies include broadening the range of services Post Offices offer to include financial services. These measures, if accepted, can secure the long-term future of the hundreds of Post Offices located across the country.”