- Recommendation has been outlined in key report
- Motion to be presented at Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting
Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling on the government to introduce a Public Service Obligation to save the post office network from terminal decline.
Deputy Crowe has drafted a motion making the call, which has been co-signed as a joint motion by Senator Timmy Dooley and Deputies Jackie Cahill, Pádraig O’Sullivan and Joe Flaherty, and is to be presented at the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting this evening.
It follows the recent confirmation that Broadford’s post office is to permanently close after 190 years in operation; marking a significant blow for rural Clare.
“I am asking colleagues in government to consider introducing a Public Services Obligation to help sustain the Irish post office network as a matter of urgency,” said Deputy Crowe.
“The post office network is facing an existential crisis and without a funding stream to rescue it from continued loss making we will, possibly within this year, see more than half of the post offices in the country facing possible closure.
“In Broadford, the community has enjoyed having a local post office for an unbroken 190 years and they’re completely devastated that An Post senior management is now using a national consolidation plan to shut the doors on this branch forever.
“Despite a mammoth effort put in by the community in terms of putting a case forward for keeping the branch open, An Post has responded to all of this research with a copy and paste answer – not even on letterhead, but by email.
“That’s treating the community with disdain and it’s not the way this should be playing out in its final hours.
“That said, there’s still a battle to be fought here and I’m more than up for the task of doing so, along with others in the county.
“The much-publicised Grant Thornton report into the future of the post office network recommended that a PSO costing in the region of €17m per annum could sustain the network in its current form.
“I think this amounts to small money when you consider the immense benefit of the post office network throughout the country, but particularly in rural areas which are constantly being left behind.
“As a country, we need to do some soul searching and ask ourselves a simple question – do we place value on this service that’s a backbone to rural life?
“Covid has reminded us that our dependency on our local services is as important as ever and for that reason it’s an absolutely retrograde step and short-sighted move to allow post offices to shut their doors for good.”