4 May 2017:
Postmasters have agreed to sit down with An Post to enter a month-long process of talks and negotiation to plan the future of the Post Office Network, as Postmasters’ Annual Conference takes place in Westport this weekend.
The Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) called for An Post to take a dynamic approach to these talks and support new and innovative services at Post Offices, which increase their offering to communities and keep as many Offices as possible open.
Speaking in advance of the conference, which takes place this Saturday and Sunday, General Secretary Ned O’Hara said the future of Ireland’s Post Office Network had reached a critical point and delegates are looking for positive action.
“An Post has asked Postmasters to take part in a new planning and negotiation process for the next month. This is a case of ‘déjà vu’ as we already participated with An Post in the development of the Bobby Kerr Chaired report during 2015 and 2016.
“Postmasters feel betrayed that the Bobby Kerr proposals have not been delivered on. However, we will commit to a further process and will be encouraging creative thinking on how we can maximise services which are offered through the Network.
“We need ‘can do’ and innovation from An Post, Postmasters are open for business. For example, we commend our colleague, Kildare Postmaster Seán Fogarty, who last week launched a health booth at his shop and Post Office – the first of its type in Ireland – which will provide an online GP consultation and health service.
“An Post needs to embrace these types of opportunities and look ambitiously towards what the Network can deliver for communities, rather than trying to push through closures,” he said.
“We need to move ahead with delivering Motor Tax and basic banking services – within an agreed plan for the future. We also need to look at how Post Offices can support more public and financial services – as well as transport, tourism and training in communities.”
In advance of the conference, Postmasters also called for both Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Communications Denis Naughten to take political leadership on the issue.
“The Post Office Network is currently in a political limbo, with responsibility currently being transferred from Minister of State Michael Ring to the Minister for Communications Denis Naughten. However, this has not happened yet and Post Offices are in a political no-man’s-land at the moment. The Taoiseach and Minister Naughten must ensure that the Network is a political priority,” Mr. O’Hara concluded.
Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications (086) 317 9731 / firstname.lastname@example.org