19 July 2017:
Postmasters Protest against Government inaction on Post Offices
Postmasters protested today against Government inaction to secure the future of the Post Office Network – and announced that they are withdrawing from current talks with An Post.
Members of the Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) National Executive gathered at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment today – accusing the Government of overseeing the demise of the Network by doing nothing to support it.
IPU General Secretary Ned O’Hara said the protest was as a result of “Government inaction and its continued refusal to invest in its own Network.”
The National Executive of the Union has decided to withdraw from current negotiations with An Post, on the future of the Post Office Network, because of “no prospect of agreement”. The talks had been underway since May.
“The IPU is disappointed that, despite our best efforts, agreement could not be reached as Postmasters earnings continue to reduce sharply and the future of the Network remains in a perilous state.”
The IPU is to hold Branch Meetings across the country in the coming weeks to discuss the challenges being faced.
Mr. O’Hara added that the Union would not, as a result, cooperate with the rollout of the planned An Post Smart Account.
To enable the roll-out of the service, An Post requires Postmasters to attend a training programme. However, Postmasters said they will not attend the training until an overall Network plan is agreed.
“We will support the Smart Account once we have agreement that it sits together with a Network development and investment plan – which sanctions a wide-ranging suite of additional over the counter transactions such as motor tax, identity verification, transport, tourism, health social hub services.
“We also need to agree how many Post Offices we will have into the future, Postmasters’ new contracts and an exit process for Offices which are not financially viable.
IPU President Paddy McCann said the new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and re-appointed Minister for Communications Denis Naughten have taken no action to sustain Post Offices, and the communities they serve, since coming into Office.
“The new Taoiseach and Minister Naughten need to put the future of the Post Office Network on page one of this Government’s priority list to ensure that access to all essential State, financial and social services is maintained and supported in communities across the country.
“An Post needs to embrace the many opportunities for the Post Office Network – and look ambitiously towards the optimum level of access and services that can be delivered for communities into the future,” Mr. McCann said.
Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications (086) 317 9731.