Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy is encouraging members of the public to have their say on the future of the Post Office network in Ireland as the deadline for submissions to the Oireachtas Communications Committee approaches.

Deputy Troy said: “As a Postmaster myself I know how valuable post offices are to communities across the country.  The large network that is already in place can expand the range of services already being provided and save the State money, as long as the Government is committed to protecting the network.

“I would encourage as many people and community groups as possible to make submissions to the Oireachtas Communications Committee this week and show their support for the Post Office network.  We cannot allow any actions to be taken by the Government to undermine the network and further isolate communities which have already seen the closure of garda stations or cuts to local authority services in light of bad Government decisions.

“The Irish Postmasters Union commissioned an independent report from Grant Thornton on what measures can be taken to increase the viability of the Post Office network.  It is a very good report and provides a basis for further engagement between the Government and all the stakeholders.  Unfortunately Minister Rabbitte has refused to establish an inter-departmental working group that would include his department, the Department of Social Protection, the Department of Environment and Local Government and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.  I believe such a group would be able to engage with all the stakeholders and the Oireachtas Communications Committee to strengthen the Post Office network through innovative and creative ideas.

“I welcome the fact that the Committee is seeking submissions from members of the public and I hope it will be a very worthwhile exercise.  However I would stress that Minister Rabbitte must show leadership on this issue and take on board the Grant Thornton report and the views of the public in their submissions.  The Post Office network can be strengthened and protected provided the Government demonstrates that it is willing to invest in the vision of the network, its customers and staff into the future.

Deputy Troy concluded: “The closing date for receipt of submissions is this Friday, 19 October 2012 at 5pm.  Written submissions should be sent by close of business this Friday to the Clerk to the Committee at or by post to: The Clerk, Joint Committee on Transport and Communications, Kildare House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.”