Independent Senator Rónán Mullen has criticised the Government’s failure to commit to a strategy to protect the post office network. Speaking after a briefing from members of the Irish Postmasters Union, Senator Mullen said that the Government had pledged to maintain the Post Office network but there was no evidence of any plan.
“I met with some of the members of the Irish Postmasters Union last Wednesday. I support their call on the Government to produce an in-depth plan of sustainability for the post office network,” Senator Mullen said.
Senator Mullen said the future of post offices depended on their retaining the contract with the Department of Social Protection to provide social welfare payments throughout the network. “It’s about keeping the system people-friendly,” Senator Mullen said. “Not everyone is comfortable about getting payments directly to their bank account. Many older people are comfortable and contact users of electronic banking, but many others are disappointed by the unavailability of anything like personal service anymore from their banks. The post office network mustn’t go the same way. Post offices are a vital contact and communication point, particularly in rural communities,” Senator Mullen said.
Senator Mullen called on the Government to take into account the Grant Thornton report commissioned by the Irish Postmasters Union which showed various costs benefits.
“The report showed that if banking charges, motor tax and hospital charges were made payable through Post Offices that €76.8 million could be saved.”