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I am writing in relation to the recent furore over the children’s allowance day deals flyer seen in some Centra stores.
I note the reaction of the public, particularly those featured on Six One News citing anger and horror at the leaflets linking alcohol to child benefit payment day. It strikes me that though public response to this leaflet has largely been one of condemnation and outrage, little has been made of the fact that alcohol is selling inside the very places where people go to collect these welfare payments.
For the last few years, An Post has been quietly closing down post offices in every town and village, only to reopen in the nearest shop; in most cases licensed premises for selling alcohol. This, in my opinion, is a move that has more to do with propping up shops than with making savings for An Post. Add to this the recent announcement by a leading bank that it intends to close 90 branches and transfer banking business to the post office and a very unsettling picture begins to emerge.
I feel it is wrong that in this country, people who may be struggling daily to stay away from alcohol are forced to come into contact with it every time they go to collect their child benefit, social welfare or pension payments. Soon, many such people may encounter a similar challenge when they endeavour to do their banking.
In most countries, alcohol is sold in supermarkets and food stores. Only in Ireland will you find alcohol for sale in the “post office” and very shortly, the “bank”.
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