Plans to close up to 400 local post office branches have been described as a "devastating blow" to rural Irealnd.
Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy said the blueprint for closures, prepared by An Post, if allowed to proceed, would be a ‘doomsday plan’ for services in rural Ireland.
The Midlands North West MEP was speaking after the Irish Postmasters Union said that An Post has prepared a blueprint which will result in the number of post offices being reduced from 1,100 to just 700.
If the reported plan goes ahead the closures will take place in mainly rural locations said Mr Carthy.
Earlier today An Post CEO, David McRedmond acknowledged on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourk programme, that post offices will inevitably close as part of a consolidation of services.
The head of An Post said said there are currently 1,066 post offices, and in the longer term he would "guess" there would be somewhere in the region of 700 to 900.
Responding, Matt Carthy said: “Any attempt to proceed with a plan to close 400 local post office branches would represent a devastating blow to rural Ireland. Closures of this scale represent a doomsday plan for rural Ireland.
"For generations, the local post office has been at the heart of rural Ireland. The rural post office network must be protected and their services enhanced.
“As with Garda Stations and small rural schools, post offices have also come under attack from Government and EU policy which has stripped back the postal service to the point where its continued existence is now at risk.
“Rural communities have taken as much attacks on local services as they can manage. We cannot allow the vital services provided by rural post offices to scrapped in the way that has been proposed.”