Fianna Fáil TD for Longford – Westmeath Robert Troy TD has called on the Government to make a statement committing to retaining the mail distribution centre operated by An Post in Athlone.

Deputy Troy made the comments after securing a Dáil debate on the issue.

“The future of the An Post network has never been more uncertain. Fine Gael refused to invest in the network in recent years and this has given rise to a situation whereby Post Offices right across the country are being forced to close their doors. Many of these Post Offices are serving rural areas and play an important role in providing community services,” explained Deputy Troy.

“The future of the mail distribution facility in Athlone is also in doubt as a result of Fine Gael’s refusal to properly fund the network. Consultants have been employed to examine the future of the mail distribution network. However information which I have received shows that these consultants haven’t even visited the Athlone facility to see first-hand how the centre operates. These consultants need to engage with the management and unions representing workers in Athlone’s mail distribution unit. In doing so they will realise that there is great potential to develop the facility in the years ahead.

“There is also a great deal of confusion over who in Government is actually in charge of delivering a sustainable future for our Post Office network. The Dáil has been told that Ministers Humphreys, Naughten and Ring all have varying degrees of responsibility for the Post Office network. It seems neither of them wants to take on board this challenge and are instead shying away from confronting the problems facing our Post Office network. This attitude needs to change. One Minister must take on the responsibility for delivering a sustainable future for Post Offices.

“The Government can’t just sit back and watch the rapid disintegration of the Post Office network. This network plays a vital role in delivering community services, particularly in rural areas. Fine Gael Deputies to realise that a reform plan, backed up with meaningful investment, is needed to save the Post Office network.”