An Post should provide financial services in rural areas

Claire McGovern

Reporter:

Claire McGovern

Post Office

Post offices could fill the gap left by bank closures.

A call has been for the Finance Minister to hold discussions with the banking sector to explore the possibility of providing essential financial services to people in rural towns and villages which have seen their local bank branches shut in recent years.

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith explained, “There are hundreds of towns across the country, which no longer have bank branches on their main street as a result of rationalisation plans, which have been implemented by many of the major players in recent years. This has led to people having to travel to go about their daily or weekly banking business. This is a serious inconvenience, especially for older people or people living in areas which have patchy transport links.

“I am calling on the Finance Minister to engage with the banks to establish whether some of their services could be provided in Post Offices in areas where there are no banking services.

“This proposal works on two levels – not only does it ensure that people have access to financial services, it also expands the offering available at the Post Office, thereby making the network more viable.

“Fianna Fáil has long argued for the expansion of services in Post Offices – we want to see them act as a central office for state payments and charges, as well as banking services. Given the fact that some rural communities have no banking facilities in their area, this proposal should be given serious consideration. I would like to see the Government engage further with these banking institutions to explore what opportunities could be developed between the banks and An Post”, concluded Deputy Brendan Smith.