Sinn Féin TD for Sligo/North Leitrim, Michael Colreavy, has expressed disappointment at the refusal of the government to negotiate a derogation from the EU directive that demands that all social welfare payments that are currently administered through the local Post Office network must now go to tender.
Deputy Colreavy stated that he failed to understand why the Government are refusing point blank to enter into negotiations with the EU in order to ensure that our local post offices would not lose this essential business. He has predicted a mass closure of rural post offices in the event of An Post losing the contract.
“The previous Government were only too happy to stand idly by and watch the ongoing closures of our Rural Post Office network and now it seems that the current Fine Gael/Labour Government is doing likewise. Since 1979 both the Postmasters Association and the Postal Workers Union have been advocating various strategies that would give our Post Offices a sustainable future,” Deputy Colreavy told the Leitrim Observer.
“A proposal in 1980 advocating that all Rural Post Offices should offer a full range of banking services was subsequently rejected by successive Governments following extensive lobbying by the Banks and Financial Institutions. Other proposals such as the merger of Post Offices and credit unions met a similar fate.
“It is quite possible that we might arrive at a situation where the banks that were bailed out by the citizens of this state may end up winning the social welfare contract thus leading to a mass closure of our local Post Offices. But the real prize for those financial institutions would not be the social welfare payments but rather the flight of capital that would happen in the aftermath of such mass closures. An Post savings are estimated to be in excess of €12bn.”