Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications Michael Moynihan has said he is extremely disappointed but not surprised by the decision of communication firm UPC to drop the option giving customers the chance to pay their bills at the post office.

Deputy Moynihan said: “This is a very regrettable decision by UPC and I would urge them to reconsider it and continue to allow their customers to pay their TV, phone or broadband bills at their local post office.  One of the reasons I have been so critical of the Government’s policy of deliberately undermining post offices is because it would have this type of impact.  If private service providers don’t see and priority of the post office network in Government policy what incentive is there for them to continue to support the next work?

“In recent weeks the Department of Social Protection has sought to further undermine the post office network by writing to social welfare recipients recommending that they use financial institutions to receive their welfare payments, claiming that this represents the best payment option.  The largest element of business delivered at Post Offices is the payment of social welfare, accounting for over 30% of all business, and any significant more away from that would only further accelerate post office closures.

“Fianna Fáil believes the post office network is more than simply bricks and mortar, it is an important strategic state asset which plays an invaluable role in communities and reduces social isolation.  I believe the future of the post office network needs to be put on a more sustainable footing and that will involve diversifying business and commercial activity.  The reality is the post office is a trusted financial service provider and this is something we can build upon in communities across the country.”