February 14, 2016.
Postmasters have called for cross-party and cross-candidate commitment to progressing the Bobby Kerr Report on the future of Post Offices, in their General Election 2016 Manifesto.
The Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) has called on all Political Groups and Candidates to ensure that the Irish Post Office Network has a strong economic and social future, irrespective of who forms the next Government.
IPU General Secretary Ned O’Hara said: “The future of Ireland’s Post Office Network is not a party political issue. It is a social and community issue and warrants cross-party and cross-candidate commitment to supporting urgent progress.”
In their Manifesto, Postmasters said that the two Working Groups (Network Renewal and Service Hubs) established on foot of the Bobby Kerr Chaired Post Office Network Business Development Group Report (published in January 2016) must continue with urgency.
The Network Renewal Working Group has been established to ‘Develop a Five Year Strategy for the Network’. This group is being Chaired by Bobby Kerr and includes the IPU, Department of Communications, Department of Social Protection and An Post. The Group is overseen by the Minister for Communications and is due to Report by July 2016.
A parallel Working Group to ‘Develop a Nationwide Pilot of Post Office Service Hubs’ aims to pilot developing rural Post Offices in Hubs which extend citizen access by facilitating additional services such as transport and health. The Group is to be Chaired by the Minister of State for Rural Economic Development, Ann Phelan and includes Postmasters, relevant Government Departments and An Post. It aims to have Pilots in place later this year.
IPU President Paddy McCann said: “Specifically, the Irish Postmasters’ Union is calling for all election parties, groupings and candidates to support the continued work of both processes in order to deliver progress on implementing the Post Office Report recommendations.”
“The next Government, whoever it may be, must be committed to the Network as the provider of choice for Social Protection Payments, new business at Post Offices (particularly Motor Tax), roll out a Post Office based epayments Account and new Postmaster contracts,” Mr. McCann said.
Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications: (086) 317 9731.