Offaly TD makes proposal to ensure future of rural Post Offices
Following her statement on Tuesday on the security of rural post offices, Carol Nolan TD has questioned Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty on the Government strategy to support future viability of the network.
Deputy Nolan was seeking a long-term commitment from the Minister with regard to the continued payment of Social Welfare payments through the post office network which are currently contracted year on year on an annual contract basis.
Deputy Nolan also asked for a timeline for the roll-out of new bill-pay services in Post Offices. Nolan also stressed the importance of post office activity to local commercial activity and the wider local economy.
In response, Minister Doherty supported Deputy Nolan in acknowledging the importance of the An Post network and said she is confident that the new An Post management is working towards that shared outcome.
Carol says Minister Doherty did not commit beyond the annual contracting currently in place, a matter which Deputy Nolan later said she “will be pursuing further with a view to multi-annual contracting being put in place."
"Our Post Office infrastructure is going through a significant stage of transition and many existing service providers are retiring from the business. It is important that the commercial activity of a small rural Post Office is adequate enough to offer an inducement to new entrants where they can be assured of a reasonable income, and multi-Annual contracts for service to State bodies is a significant element in this," Nolan said.
"I would like to see three, four or five year contracting being put in place, with the value of each being subject to annual allocations in accordance with requirement. This is a matter I intend to advance with Minister Doherty over the coming months," she concluded.
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