Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications Darren O’Rourke TD has called on the government to invest in the post office network, as post offices are “essential to the economic, social and environmental success of our communities”.
Teachta O’Rourke’s comments come following a meeting with the Irish Postmasters’ Union where the need for financial support to ensure the future viability of the network was discussed.
The Meath East TD said:
“Despite the crucial role post offices provide in our local communities, the network has suffered from years of neglect by successive governments, with hundreds of closures and the loss of vital outlets right across rural Ireland.
“Sinn Féin backs the Irish Postmasters’ call for an annual contract fee to be introduced to ensure the survival of our post office network.
“In fact, Sinn Féin has been advocating for government support to secure the future of the network for over a decade now.
“During a debate on a Sinn Féin motion on post offices in 2018, Fianna Fáil called for Exchequer support to be provided. This commitment must now be delivered upon, before more branches close, particularly in rural Ireland.
“In addition to financial assistance, Sinn Féin want to see more services delivered through our local post offices.
“The 2016 Kerr Report made a number of recommendations in this area, including increasing the financial and government services available through our post offices.
“The government are failing to capitalise on obvious opportunities to enhance the services our post offices provide.
“For example, the driving licence service has been privatised, with the contract awarded to a company with just 34 offices, who have also now removed the walk-in service for people.
“Instead, it could have been another government service offered by the vast post office network of 950 branches.
“Such a move would have generated more business for post offices at a time when post offices are crying out for this type of contract to ensure their future viability.
“We need action now to safeguard our post offices – which are essential to the economic, social and environmental success of our communities.”