Deputy Michael Colreavy, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has today (Thursday, February 20) met with the Irish Postmasters Union in relation to the closure of post offices.
Speaking to the Leitrim Observer following the meeting, Deputy Colreavy said: “The post office network is part of the fabric of many communities, especially in rural areas. Therefore it should been seen as a vital part of the campaign to hold our local communities together.
“The closure of schools, Garda stations and local businesses has resulted in a reduction in infrastructure and identity for communities. The loss of these services, coupled with emigration, has meant that the heart has been ripped out of many communities,” he added noting that there were many areas where post offices were the focal point for utilising online services in the absence of adequate broadband.
“As a member of the Transport and Communications Committee, I was part of drafting a report on the future of the post office network. This report highlighted a number of recommendations including the need for An Post to introduce an ‘amber light’ warning system if a post office is about to close to allow communities to react,” explained Deputy Colreavy.
“There is no a responsibility on Government and An Post to work together to arrange a business model for the post office network all public services should be available at local level. Social protection payments are clearly an integral part of the services provided by the post office network. There is an imperative on government to work with An Post to create a business model that will allow the post office network to survive.
“As part of it Rural Ireland Report, Sinn Féin identified that between 2004 and 2008,344 post offices were closed and many more were downgraded. Sinn Féin also identified that there were a number of facilities that the post office network could take up including motor tax renewals, business rates and other Government services.”