1 February 2016.
The Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) announced today that it is no longer running Community and Post Office candidates in the upcoming General Election.
These include Geoff Boyle in Dublin West, Andrew Kelly in Dublin Central and Seona O’Fegan in Galway West who had announced their intention to run as Community and Post Office candidates last year. All three candidates are now not contesting the election.
The decision follows a national meeting of Postmasters in Portlaoise yesterday to discuss the recent Bobby Kerr led report on the future of the Post Office Network which included the immediate establishment of two Working Groups to implement the report’s findings, with Postmasters part of both Groups.
Government has confirmed that the first meeting of the main Working Group, to develop a detailed a Five Year Strategy for the Network, will take place this week. The Group will be Chaired by Bobby Kerr and overseen by the Minister for Communications, Alex White.
Its remit is to report within six months on a recommended future size and distribution of the Network, the introduction of an epayment account, the roll out of additional services (motor tax), securing Social Protection payments and the renegotiation of Postmasters’ contracts.
The second Working Group, to be Chaired by the Minister for Rural Economic Development Ann Phelan, will oversee a pilot programme to develop rural Post Offices as local ‘Service Hubs’ and the group’s work will also begin this week.
IPU General Secretary Ned O’Hara said: “After discussion and reflection among the Executive Committee, members and candidates the Irish Postmasters’ Union has decided to place our immediate energy and focus into our role within the two Working Groups. Government and An Post have both given their clear commitment to this process.”
IPU President Paddy McCann thanked the candidates for their courage, hard work and commitment.
“Each of the Community and Post Office candidates are to congratulated and thanked for being an advocate for communities and for Post Offices. Their work has helped bring us to a point where two Groups – including Postmasters, Government and An Post – are now working on detailed solutions towards a sustainable future for the Post Office Network.”
Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications: (086) 317 9731.