Speaking at the AGM of Cork County Muintir na Tire County President Mr Sean Murphy came out in support of the retention of Post Offices. He said Post Offices must be supported on the ground as when they are gone some communities are left with no social space whatsoever. He said the there must also be support from the government for the retention of Post Offices. Their future will be dependent on Government support for rural post offices if they are to survive into the future.
|Mr Sean Murphy (Left) President of Cork County Muintir na Tire with Sean Holland and Annette Lane Chairperson at the Muintir na Tire AGM in Ballyphehane Last Night.|
The proposed closure of 80 post offices has been described as a “serious blow” and “another nail in the coffin” for rural Ireland.
The proposal is believed to be included in a report by businessman Bobby Kerr on the future of post offices, which has not yet been published.
Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) general secretary Ned O’Hara has also called on An Post to publish the report in full as soon as possible.
“There’s a danger if there’s no action that not only 80 but 500 to 600 [post offices] could close because postmasters can’t make a living out of them. They want to provide more services, they can’t provide more services,” he said.
“Bobby Kerr has a comprehensive plan and not just about 80 closures but additional services, both Government and financial , with new services and appropriate investment. It is a complete plan.”
Aim to curb losses
The five-year plan was created with the aim of curbing losses estimated to be between €12 to €15 million a year for the postal group.
Mr O’Hara said there had been ongoing discussions between the Government and the union, and between the Government and An Post, since January - but not with all three parties at the same time.
“They’re not going anywhere,” he said. “We want to get into a room with An Post and eliminate the gaps between our position and their position on the recommendations. From our point of view, the gaps are surmountable.
“The plan is high-level recommendations. We need a detailed plan now. We want to focus on the solutions,” he said.
The report states there is a total of 1,135 post offices operating across Ireland with about 1.7 million customers every week. There were 1,907 post offices in 1992.
“The people of Ireland tell us they want services in the post office and without it they’d feel abandoned. There’s been lots of research to back this up,” Mr O’Hara said.