20 January 2016.
The Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) has said that today’s launch of the Bobby Kerr Report on the future of Post Offices shows the serious challenges faced by the Post Office Network and called for urgent action on the Report’s findings.
“The IPU Executive welcomes the Report which shows the serious challenges facing the Network over the next number of years. While there are some recommendations in the Report that Postmasters have major difficulty with, we are prepared to engage with the Government and An Post to find solutions and define a viable future for the Post Office Network,” the Union said.
IPU General Secretary Ned O’Hara said one of the Report’s key commitments was that a Working Group – including Bobby Kerr, each relevant Government Department, Postmasters and An Post – be established immediately to develop a detailed Five Year Strategy for the Network reporting within six months.
“The IPU is calling on Bobby Kerr, the Government and An Post to progress this Working Group and not be delayed by the election period. There are core issues such as the Post Office becoming the provider of choice for Social Protection payments, the introduction of a Post Office based epayments Account and the roll out of new transaction services (such as Motor Tax) which need to progress urgently to maintain the viability of many Post Offices,” he said.
IPU President Paddy McCann said another key commitment in the Report was for the establishment of a second Working Group to oversee a pilot programme for the development of rural Post Offices as ‘service hubs’ to facilitate additional services such as health and transport.
“The IPU also urges immediate commencement of this Working Group which gives an opportunity to further develop the social and community role of Post Offices, making them a gateway for access to services in rural areas. Development of these hubs can benefit Post Offices and also citizen’s and communities.”
“The IPU has participated in the the development of the Kerr Report and will also participate in these two working Groups. However, it is critical for Postmasters that we now move seamlessly into an action and implementation phase of this work and see greater certainty, new services and an expanded role for Post Offices becoming a reality in the short term,” Mr. McCann said.
Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications: (086) 317 9731.