Three years ago a decision was taken by the Government to put more State work through the post office network as part of the An Post recovery plan and now we have a Government announcement on the establishment of another group to look into the possibility of this happening, says Denis Naughten TD
“Why is support for our post offices always just one more report away from action? Such a policy approach, taken prior to my appointment as Minister, nearly led to the collapse of An Post and yet we are failing to learn from this political dithering,” stated Denis Naughten.
“While I welcome the fact that Government has decided to act on our Dáil motion of last September – when the Regional Group of TDs provided it with a six month window to move on the delivery of Government services through the post office network – I’m afraid this will be too late to protect the existing network.
“This week the Government announced the establishment of an inter-departmental group to examine the feasibility of directing more Government business to the post office network, but this is a reversal of the decision of the last Government in 2018 to establish an inter-departmental group to consider the provision of ‘offline’ Government services for those citizens who do not wish to use, or are unable to use, digital services.
“So, we have now gone from the provision of services in 2018 to a situation now where in 2021 the Government is looking at the ‘feasibility of directing services to Post Offices’.”
Contact: Denis Naughten 086 1708800
Regional TD’s motion in Dáil Eireann in September
Government was given 6 months to respond:
That Dáil Éireann:
recognises: — that transactions within the post office network are down by an estimated 25 per cent due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which heightens the serious viability challenges facing
the network; and
— the need to put the post office network on a sustainable operational and financial footing in line with the Cabinet decision in 2017; and calls on the Government to: — designate the post office network as the ‘offline gateway’ of choice for citizens availing of State services due to its unique nationwide network and existing strong relationship with offline citizens;
— commence the provision of offline Government services with the availability of motor tax renewal through the post office network; and
— give recognition to the existing post office network as both a rural economic lifeline service and a locus for future development of financial services outside of the existing banking framework.