Up to 200 jobs in Cork could be lost if An Post closes its Mail Centre in Little Island, the Dáil heard today.
An Post has four such centres for sorting mail in Athlone, Cork, Dublin, and Portlaoise.
However the company will close one of the four next year to cut costs, and while An Post says it has yet to decide which centre is to shut, Cork East Labour TD Seán Sherlock told the Dáil that he has been informed that the Little Island centre has been earmarked for closure.
He asked Communications Minister Richard Bruton if this is the case, and warned that the closure of the Cork Mail Centre would “have a devastating effect on postal services in the southern region”.
Mr Sherlock further warned that the closure of the Cork Mail Centre could lead to the loss of 200 jobs.
Mr Bruton said An Post “will seek to ensure the very best delivery of service to its customers in a way that is consistent with being commercially viable”.
“It has a strong record of communication with its workforce, which it will continue to respect, but it has to develop plans that allow it to continue to be able to deliver on its mandate. That is what it does as an independent body,” he said.
Mr Bruton said he has no problem following up on the matter with Mr Sherlock.
However, he added that "it must be borne in mind that this is a public company that has a commercial responsibility”.
“It has to develop its proposals in a way that is financially viable,” he said.
Mr Sherlock this evening called on An Post to maintain the Mail Centre in Cork.
"The loss of up to 200 jobs in An Post in Cork would be devastating for this region,” Mr Sherlock told the Irish Examiner.
“There is no justification for this decision. It would leave the entire southern region of the country without a Mail Centre. This is just unconscionable and An Post management must reverse gears on this course," he said.
A spokesperson for An Post, however, said the company has not yet decided which of the centres it will close.
"An Post has already announced that a Mails Centre will close in 2019," the spokesperson said.
“Once a decision is made, we’ll consult with our staff, our unions and all stakeholders," the spokesperson said.
The Irish Examiner understands that the decision is expected early in the New Year, and that plans are that the centre chosen for closure will cease operations in the third quarter of 2019.