Another postmaster vows to deliver election reform

A second postmaster has put himself up as an election candidate in the deepening row with the Government over feared post office closures.

Another postmaster vows to deliver election reform

Andrew Kelly from Cabra, Dublin, will run in the Dublin Central constituency as part of a campaign to get more public services and welfare payments made through the postal network.

The Irish Postmasters’ Union has claimed there are concerns that up to 557 post offices could close by 2017 as more social welfare payments are made electronically.

Mr Kelly, known for community activism in north Dublin, said post office closures are not just a rural issue.

“Current government policy is forcing post office customers to the commercial banks and will lead to major network closures.

“We know that when a post office closes it is followed by further local business closures and the heart is torn out of the community.

“Banks, large corporates and the financial services sector have too much power in deciding what type of country we live in,” said Mr Kelly.

“It is time for Irish people to get vocal about what we want for our communities and society,” he said.

Another six candidates are expected to put their names forward for ballot papers later in the year.

Seona O’Fegan, a postmistress in Barna and Fr Griffin Road post offices in Galway, has already said she will stand in the next general election.

The post office campaign has claimed that government policy is forcing people who use state services and are in receipt of benefits to deal with commercial banks.

Currently, about half of all social protection payments are paid electronically and half at the counter, with the Government planning to have 97% paid electronically by the end of 2018.

A report by TV personality Bobby Kerr for the Government last week concluded that the post office network is seriously under-utilised and also called for new services to be brought into the network, including the payment of state welfare.

Mr Kelly has been a scout leader in Phibsboro, Dublin, for 22 years. He also coaches rugby in Glasnevin and was a former chairman of Christ The King girls’ school.

He said: “While the issue of post offices is often perceived as a rural issue, I see from my work in Cabra that people in the city are deeply concerned about the future of the community that they live in.”

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