Fianna Fáil Community Affairs Spokesperson Bobby Aylward has called on the Government to ensure the recommendations made in the impending report by Bobby Kerr’s Post Office Network Business Development Group are implemented immediately.
Deputy Aylward explained, “It is my understanding that a new report on the Post Office network will be issued shortly by the Bobby Kerr Group. This represents an opportunity for the Government to show that they are serious about sustaining the Post Office network by supporting the recommendations through direct implementation . Otherwise this will be viewed as yet another exercise in public relations to give the impression that they are addressing the issue, when in reality, no meaningful actions are being taken.
“Postmasters will be hoping to see strong recommendations from this report regarding longer contract extensions providing increased job security. The ability of Post Offices to stand alone where possible must also be addressed. Post Offices need to be allowed facilitate motor tax and agricultural payments as well as the maintenance of the register of electors.
Deputy Aylward continued, “A stronger effort must be made to ensure that the Post Office is recognised as a viable choice for social welfare payments. The Government would lead you to believe that no preference is given to financial institutions in this regard, but the reports I am receiving on the ground paint a very different picture.
“Government representatives are busy claiming that they have saved Post Offices such as Inistioge and Bilboa. However on closer examination these contracts have only been extended for 12 months, until after the next election. The postmasters concerned should be guaranteed the security of a five year contract and this is something I am working towards achieving.
“A sustainable Post Office network as a trusted financial service provider and a social outlet for older people is crucial to the regeneration of rural communities which require our support,” concluded Deputy Aylward.