Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly Barry Cowen says he is opposed to any attempt to close Post Offices in the county. His comments come following reports that two-thirds of the Post Offices across the country could face closure in the coming years.
“In recent weeks the Government has been floating the idea of closing a fast number of Post Offices across the country. A warning has been made that 700 Post Offices in total are under threat, with many of these based in Offaly. This would lead to the decimation of essential community services and would be a death knell for rural Ireland,” said Deputy Cowen.
He claimed, “Fine Gael seems to have an unhealthy obsession with wanting to reduce the number of services in rural Ireland. They have already closed many Garda stations, small schools, libraries and now they want to close even more Post Offices.
"The Government should be coming forward with a plan to increase footfall for Post Offices instead of taking the easy option of just closing them. The key to securing our Post Offices is to increase the number of services that they have to offer.
“Fianna Fáil recognises that the local Post Office is the fabric of many communities - it not only provides important services like savings schemes, social welfare payments and bill pay options - it’s also a meeting place for people. We have been extremely proactive on this issue - only last month we requested the establishment of a Joint Oireachtas Sub Committee tasked with securing the future of the post office network, however the Government has shown scant interest in it.
“Rural Ireland simply cannot afford to lose yet another important service provider. Post Offices provide a vital service and they must be maintained. Fianna Fáil has a clear vision to expand the Post Office network. We want to increase the products that are available and expand the services currently offered to make them viable and sustainable into the future. I can assure you that I will resist any effort to further downgrade our postal network,” concluded Deputy Cowen.