Growing concerns are being expressed about the potential impact on rural post offices of a voluntary retirement scheme brokered between An Post and the Postmasters Union.
It has been reported that An Post has received applications from over 100 post offices expressing interest in a voluntary retirement package.
It is understood that An Post are assessing the applications and their impact.
Irish Rural Link has expressed concern the scheme could see the closure of a number of post offices in rural Ireland.
Speaking on RTE Radio 1’s Morning Ireland show this morning Louise Lennon, policy and communications officer with Irish Rural Link, said they were concerned by the news.
Recating to the growing concern Fianna Fáil Communications Spokesperson Timmy Dooley TD has said that the Government should not and must not allow the closure of post offices in rural Ireland.
Deputy Dooley was commenting after an unverified list was put into the public domain which showed over 100 post offices were at risk of closure due to their post master or mistress deciding to take voluntary redundancy.
Speaking today Mr Dooley said that post masters and mistresses who opt to take the redundancy package are absolutely entitled to do so after years of fantastic service to their local communities.
“However An Post and the Government cannot be allowed to use these redundancies as a smokescreen to close the post offices.
“This would constitute a direct attack on these communities and on rural Ireland.
“Taking away the State harp from over the door signals the State’s withdrawal from the village and effectively tells people that they State no longer sees that village as a viable place to live and work. There is a domino effect when it comes to the removal of State services from villages and rural towns.
Mr Dooley suggested this was the Government admitting publicly that living in these communities will not be supported by the State.
“Fianna Fáil believes that the Department should initiate a Public Service Obligation (PSO) to keep these at risk post offices open and to maintain the post office network at current levels.
“Minister Naughten cannot allow these decisions to be made solely on the basis of profit margins. Rural post offices deliver a service that cannot be measured in profit and loss.
An Post have yet to comment specifically on these reports but earlier this year released their 'New Vision for Post Offices Services in Ireland. Read it here
- Digital Desk