Mixed reaction to State’s €30m loan to An Post

The Government’s €30m loan to An Post that it says will allow the organisation to modernise and keep rural post offices open has been met with a mixed reaction.

Communications Minister Denis Naughten said the loan was to safeguard a five-day delivery service to “every address in the country”.

He said the loan was conditional on specific targets being met which would be examined in monthly updates.

An Post said it had a loss of €15.6m in 2016 and at this time last year, PWC forecast a loss of €61m in 2017 if no action were taken.

Irish Postmasters Union (IPU) bosses said the loan was welcome but called for the immediate implementation of reforms to modernise the organisation. General secretary Ned O’Hara said:

“What is important is that a significant portion of this money goes to protecting and securing the post office network and does not get consumed in addressing other problems faced by An Post.”

Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley criticised the loan, saying that it was a glorified job-loss announcement.

“Let’s be under no illusion, the money announced today will be spent on redundancies in the postal delivery side of the business and on retirement packages for postmasters,” he said.

“The pensioning off of postmasters will leave vast swathes of rural Ireland without a post office. This announcement is a short-term fix to An Post’s financial difficulties, and doesn’t deal with the long-term challenges the post office network is facing.”

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