- Group will report back by end of July
- Will examine directing state services to PO network
Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the announcement that an inter-departmental group co-chaired has been established to examine the feasibility of directing more Government business to the post office network.
The group will comprise of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and will report back to the government by the end of July.
“I hope that the inter-departmental group will examine ways in which the nationwide network of more than 900 post offices can be sustained and protected,” said Deputy Crowe.
“I see the introduction of a Public Service Obligation (PSO) as being key to plugging the annual €17 million funding shortfall the network faces.
“Measures, including the establishment of a community banking system to be operated by An Post must also be considered as a means of bringing a regular income to post masters.
“As has been well documented now, the Kiwi Bank, operational in New Zealand’s post offices, has had a transformational impact.
“A community banking system differs from the agency banking being suggested by Bank of Ireland in post offices, in that it would ensure that profits would be channelled within the local community as opposed to bank shareholders.
“The sale of postage stamps alone won’t save or sustain post offices like Broadford.
“We need to grasp the issue of post office decline once and for all and I see the establishment of this inter-departmental group as being significant in terms of offering solutions but it must get to work quickly and implement revolutionary changes if this is to be a success.”