Mobile post offices could be a solution to post office closures – Mangan
Speaking in relation to the announced closure of 159 rural post offices, Labour Party candidate for Longford–Westmeath Alan Mangan spoke about the need to find a sustainable solution that can meet the needs of Ireland’s many rural dwellers.
Mr Mangan said:
“A potential solution that should be seriously explored is for mobile post offices to be piloted in a number of the areas affected by post office closures.
“Essentially, this would mean a post office in a van travelling to a number of villages, and being available at least one morning and one afternoon per week, on different days. That would give each community two opportunities in the week to access postal services, while also covering the areas that five post offices used to cover.
“While it is understandable that small rural post offices may not be economically viable, that does not mean we simply shut up shop. Mobile post offices have been tried and tested in a large number of countries, including the UK. It is not acceptable for An Post to simply say that one in every 25 people will be left behind as improvements benefit everyone else.
“The fact is that we have nearly 450,000 one-off houses in rural areas across Ireland, and with the crisis in housing we are going to see these properties occupied for decades to come. We therefore need to find sensible solutions to meet the needs of these communities, even as we build up our towns and cities as hubs of public service provision.
“In order to make them economically viable, such mobile units could also act as shops and bring parcels, groceries and pharmaceuticals closer to elderly people who may find it difficult to travel. There could be a role for the community and voluntary sector in running some of them. There is plenty of scope for innovation and imagination, and new jobs could be created.
“I call on the Minister for Communications and An Post to consider this proposal seriously and to roll out a pilot programme of mobile post offices to test the concept.”