Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport Darren O’Rourke TD today called for urgent government action following a report which shows the post office network will collapse unless state support is provided urgently.
Speaking today, the Meath East TD said: “This report sets out the huge challenges faced by post offices across the state, but also highlights the massive value and contribution they make to our economy and society.
“One of the central recommendations made in this report is that a public service obligation levy is introduced in order to secure the future of the network and allow post offices to continue to provide their excellent and important services, which are particularly important in rural Ireland.
“The government cannot bury their heads in the stand when it comes to the conclusions and recommendations contained in this report. As far back as 2011, Sinn Féin highlighted that a PSO arrangement would be needed to save those post offices at risk of closure.
“Unfortunately, since then, successive governments have done little to protect the network, allowing its further decline with hundreds of closures, impacting rural Ireland the most.
“During a 2018 Dáil motion on post offices brought forward by Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil spoke in favour of introducing a new PSO model for post offices.
“People will be watching closely whether they now deliver on this promise when in government.
“In addition to a PSO, there are additional services which could and should be delivered via post offices as outlined in the 2016 Kerr report on the future of post offices.
“These could include extended financial services, government services, maintaining the electoral register, an expanded role in climate action, SEAI and retrofitting schemes and issuing motor taxes. All this will keep jobs and services in rural areas.
“The post office network remains a highly valuable national asset, which contributes hugely to our economy and society and it must be protected.
“It’s imperative that we stop the deterioration of the post office network and this can be achieved through expanding the services they can provide in addition to a new funding stream such as a PSO.”