The Department of Communications has insisted it has no role in deciding which of An Post’s four mail centres is to be closed, following the passing of a Dáil motion calling on the Government to instruct the company to keep its centre in Cork.
The motion, backed by 73 votes to 39 in the Dáil today, follows the announcement last week that An Post is to close its Little Island sorting centre with the loss of 235 jobs.
It was proposed by Solidarity TD Mick Barry, and received cross-party support with the exception of Fine Gael and the Independent Alliance.
“I am calling on the Government to respect this vote and stop the closure,” Mr Barry said.
If they won’t do it because it is the right thing to do they should do it to protect their vote from the wrath of post office workers and many more in the upcoming bye-election.
“Should the Government not respect the vote then I hope this result can assist workers should they choose to fight the closure. Any campaign by workers against this closure can now point to the fact that Dáil Éireann itself has voiced its opposition to closing the CMC - and by an overwhelming majority too,” he said.
However it is not expected that the Government will heed the result of the motion, as Communications Minister Richard Bruton had already said he is legally prohibited from intervening in An Post’s operational decisions, a stance confirmed by his Department following the vote.
“Day to day operational matters, including decisions in relation to restructuring of An Post and the operation of the mail centre network, are matters for the Board and the management of the company and not ones in which the Minister or the government has a role in,” a Department spokesperson said in a statement.
The closure of the Mails Centre in Little Island in Cork is difficult for An Post workers and their families.
“The commitment by An Post that all staff will be offered strong exit packages, redeployment opportunities within An Post’s delivery and Post Office networks in the Cork area (currently employing nearly 1000 people), further education grants and support in securing jobs with new employers is welcomed.
“In addition, all relevant State supports will be made available to the workers impacted by this announcement,” the Department said.