UP TO half of the country’s 1,100 post offices will be forced to close if An Post loses the contract for making social welfare payments, the Irish Postmasters’ Union has said.
IPU general secretary Brian McGann said that the post office network would be “decimated” and hundreds of job lost if the Department of Social Protection pushes ahead with plans to put the welfare payments contract out to tender.
The future of the contract is currently being considered by the Department of Social Protection and a decision is expected shortly.
At the IPU conference in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, Mr McGann said any plans by the Government to withdraw the social welfare payment contract would have a disastrous affect on the country’s social fabric.
“Many social welfare recipients want to use their local post offices because it’s friendly, convenient and accessible. Local post offices also play a vital role in preventing fraud because of the face-to-face nature of its role.”
The president of the IPU, Brian Cannon, whose post office has been in his family for 100 years in Leitermacaward, Co Donegal, estimated he would lose 80% of his business if social welfare payments are taken from An Post.
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