23 October 2015.
Postmasters have presented half a million public signatures to the Minister for Communications demanding Government action to support and secure the future of Post Offices.
Postmasters gathered today outside Minister Alex White’s Office to present half a million signatures collected from communities in all corners of the country – highlighting the scale of public support for Post Offices.
Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) General Secretary Ned O’Hara said the Government must act quickly and significantly on the Post Office issue before the end of its term of Office, or 500,000 signatories will have been let down by the Government parties.
“There is very strong public support in all parts of the country to retain, support and develop the economic, social and community role of Post Offices. Postmasters have already presented a vision for the future in the IPU’s Six Point Plan. We have also fully participated in the work of the Bobby Kerr Chaired Post Office Business Development Group.
“The Bobby Kerr group’s report is due for release shortly and provides an opportunity for the Government to meet the concerns of the public. If this opportunity is not grasped, Government TDs will have to answer these voters’ disappointment at the doorstep.
“Postmasters and the public are up for the change, progression and development required to secure the future of the Post Office Network, is the Government up for it?”
“We need to see a meaningful national plan, together with commitment to implementation, which will support maintaining Social Protection payments through the Post Office Network, new public services delivered through Post Offices, basic banking in the Post Office and the roll out of new commercial and financial products.”
IPU President Paddy McCann said the major frustration among Postmasters is the ongoing Government policy to hand core Post Office business over to the commercial banks.
“Social Protection payments account for 30% of Post Offices business and its spin off value is as high as 50%. Transferring this business to the private banks will shut down the Network and remove a core piece of economic and social infrastructure from our communities.
“Bobby Kerr’s report must address this core issue when its recommendations are launched in the coming weeks.”
Postmasters have launched three Community and Post Office candidates to contest the next General Election. They are Independent candidates who are sharing a common platform of greater government support for and investment in communities.
The candidates include Barna Postmistress Seona O’Fegan in Galway West, Cabra Postmaster Andrew Kelly in Dublin Central and Blanchardstown Village Postmaster Geoff Boyle in Dublin West.
Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications: (086) 317 9731.