Comprehensive Roadmap for Post Office Network needed
- Grant Thornton Report deserves serious consideration.
- Sustainable Post Office Network an essential community support.
- PSO proposal should be assessed by government.
Responding to the Grant Thornton report commissioned by the Irish Postmasters Union, Labour Social Protection, Rural and Community Affairs spokesperson Seán Sherlock has welcomed the proposals that should now be considered by Government, adding that action is needed to deliver a sustainable post office network to support communities across the country. calling now for a comprehensive roadmap from government.
Deputy Sherlock said:
“Now is the time for the government to develop a comprehensive roadmap on the future of our post office network, and to take on board the detailed findings contained in the Grant Thornton report commissioned by the Irish Postmasters Union.
“During the pandemic we saw first hand the essential role of our post office network and workers in the sector in connecting with people in our communities and maintaining social cohesion. Our local post offices were vital points of contact and we need to preserve and sustain that. However the pandemic has also had an impact on their business causing a reduction in transactions.
“The only real commitment in the Programme for Government concerning the sector is to a sustainable nationwide post office network by offering a better range of financial services and e-commerce services. What isn’t clear is how that will be made tangible for the post office network.
“The call for increased support for the Post Office network has to be seriously considered. As more services move online and essential outlets are lost in towns and villages, the focus of the local post office becomes ever more important. In terms of the investment required, the €17 million that is proposed to subside local services is substantial but also attainable if we seriously value community services and the social cohesion it generates.
“Many other European countries provide support to their post office networks through a PSO, so now is the time for Ireland to also consider this issue. I will be raising this with the Minister for Social Protection and Rural Affairs, and the Minister for Communications and what we need is a considered response that will provide long term sustainability.
“There have been enough reports. The network now needs definitive action.”