24/03/2016

Govt Accused of Undermining Post Office Network

The government has been accused of continuing to undermine the Post Office network across Ireland.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications Michael Moynihan made the comments after the Department of Social Protection issued letters to jobseekers recommending that they bypass Post Offices by using financial institutions to receive their payments.

"The letters issued by the Department of Social Protection last week represent another attack by the Government on Post Offices. The payment of social welfare accounts for over 30% of all business transactions in Post Offices. Moving these payments to the banks will only lead to further decline of Post Offices, which are vital for maintaining the fabric of community life in rural Ireland," Deputy Moynihan said.

"The Government has attempted to reassure people that it is committed to maintaining the Post Office network by establishing two working groups to implement the recommendations issued by the 'Post Office Network Business Development Group Report' (Bobby Kerr Report). However at the same time the Department of Social Protection is actively encouraging people to abandon Post Offices. There doesn't seem to be any joined up thinking here.

"The Irish Postmasters Union has been led to believe that the Department of Social Protection would cease issuing letters aimed at directing business away from Post Offices. However such letters are still being issued. The outgoing Tánaiste Joan Burton must immediately clarify why her Department is directing jobseekers to receive their payments from financial institutions.

"Fianna Fáil supports the urgent delivery of the findings set out in the Bobby Kerr Report. In 2014 we set out our vision for the future of the Post Office network and pushed for the expansion of new products and services across the telephony, energy and financial services sector."

(MH/LM)

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