Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport Darren O’Rourke TD has today called on the government to commit to a Public Service Obligation to secure the future of the post office network.
Teachta O’Rourke 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.
“Last month, the Irish Postmasters’ Union commissioned a report which recommended that a Public Service Obligation be introduced to secure the future of the network and to allow post offices to continue to provide their excellent and important services, which are particularly important in rural Ireland.
“During a debate on a Sinn Féin motion on post offices in 2018, Fianna Fáil brought forward an amendment calling for a PSO to be introduced. With Fianna Fáil now the lead party in government, will they follow through on this commitment which can secure the post office network, or will it be another broken promise?
“In addition to a PSO, 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.
“In addition, we would like to see the role of post offices in providing information and assistance for green initiatives further expanded.
“Grants from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, for example, provide financial assistance for people to upgrade their homes or cars to more environmentally friendly alternatives.
“These grants will be crucial going forward, but older people may not be able to access these through online portals, so our local post offices can become engagement hubs for green initiatives, where people can access information about these grants and get help in applying for them.
“This can be a win-win; increasing the uptake of these grants and also providing our post offices with a new avenue of business.
“We need creativity from the government in this area. Post offices are a critical piece of State infrastructure across our island and they need proper investment, ambition and attention from this government.”