An Post confirms increase in price of stamp to €1

An Post confirms increase in price of stamp to €1

Update: 2pm: The Chief Executive of An Post has said the basic cost of a stamp is to rise from 72 cent to €1.

David McRedmond said the price increase is about setting the right price and it is the 'pretty much the average price across Europe.'

He told Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1 the 38% increase is necessary and, at €1, it is still a very good value service.

An Post, he pointed out, had the highest quality ratings in Europe, the best next day service in Europe and the best international mail service in Europe.

However, he said, to have all this, it must be funded.

Mr McRedmond said there has been a decline of nearly 50% globally in mail volumes and that fall is expected to continue by between 5 and 10% a year.

He said that An Post had to be properly funded so strategic work, to ensure the maintenance of a sustaining post office service, can be carried out.

Until now, he said, prices have been kept artificially low in Ireland.

Mr McRedmond said he cannot say how many post offices will close.

He said there was no point in having a post office that was not in walking distance of anywhere.

Mr McRedmond added that as many post offices as possible will be kept open.

He said under new plans that post offices will launch additional services in financial services along with an expansion of the amount of licences that can be sold in post offices.

He said that staff numbers will have to be reduced substantially over the next decade and there will be redundancies.

He said that other post services that have been through similar restructuring have come out the other side and are good, solid businesses.

Earlier: An Post has said that it needs to increase the price of stamps if it wants to pay its workers next month.

Today's Irish Times claims the Government has been warned the postal system is having cashflow problems.

It is claimed that there are not enough funds to meet April's €10m-a-week wage bill.

Yesterday it was revealed that consultants have suggested closing 80 post office branches.

General Secretary of the Irish Postmasters' Union Ned O'Hara said that they already have a series of proposals to fix their problems which need to be given time to work.

"We understand that the post office has a lot of problems, and that the post office is two separate businesses, if you like," he said.

"It is a mails business, which affects the delivery of mail, and there is a post office across-the-counter business, which is the one we're primarily interested in.

"What postmasters' fear is that the postmasters' problems will get mixed up with the mail's problems."

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