Reacting to the publication by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communication of a report examining the future of the Post Office network, IFA Deputy President and Countryside spokesman, Eddie Downey, has called on An Post to develop a wider range of services and products to better meet customer requirements.
Mr Downey said, “Rural Ireland currently faces enormous challenges, with poor access to services including banking and internet. The decision by banks such as AIB, National Irish Bank and Permanent TSB to close almost 100 branches between them has had a profound impact on the availability of banking services in Ireland. However, this also presents an opportunity for the network of 1,147 Post Offices to secure their long-term future by improving the product offering to include a wider range of foreign currencies, foreign exchange, debit cards and additional deposit and other saving offerings”.
IFA has also expressed concern at the proposals by the Department of Communications to review the services provided by the post office network on behalf of the Department of Social Protection.
Eddie Downey said, “Over 1 million customers use the post office network to get their pensions, child benefit and other payments each week. It would be a disastrous move for the long-term survival of many post offices if the government decides to remove this service from An Post as part of the current review”.
Mr Downey criticised the way in which some post office closures have been announced, and called on An Post to clearly set out the criteria used and the engagement which takes place with communities before any decisions are made to close post offices.