Saturday 29 April 2017

Postmasters vow to fight plan to axe 200 outlets at GPO protest

Members of the Irish Postmasters' Union protesting outside the GPO in Dublin yesterday Photo: Tom Burke
Members of the Irish Postmasters' Union protesting outside the GPO in Dublin yesterday Photo: Tom Burke
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Postmasters are to resist plans by An Post to shut hundreds of post offices around the country.

At a rally outside the GPO, they called on all political parties to fulfil their election promises to keep the network open.

Postmasters from all over the State turned up at the protest outside the headquarters of An Post. They said they would not support a "solo run" by An Post to shut post offices.

An Post is planning to close up to 200 post offices, mainly in rural areas.

This is in contrast to the report prepared by businessman Bobby Kerr, which sees 80 post offices close, an exit deal for retiring postmasters and the expansion of financial services offered by An Post.

Irish Postmasters' Union (IPU) general secretary Ned O'Hara said the Government must intervene to stop An Post from stalling the €56m network development plan.

The Kerr report is understood to recommend a €56m cash injection over four years into An Post to make it viable, but management is not in favour of this bailout.

Mr O'Hara called on Communications Minister Denis Naughten and the Government to intervene. "Bobby Kerr has already drawn all of the information and views together and, while postmasters do not agree with all of the contents, we believe it offers a workable solution for the network," he said.

"The plan includes many new products and services which post offices can provide to increase their offering to the public."

Mr O'Hara said the post office network, which comprises 1,130 units, was in crisis and delay would damage it further.

"The An Post plan can be discussed when it is published later in the year on its own merits, but it must not delay the collective Kerr report that Government, postmasters and An Post have worked together on," he said.

He added that postmasters signed up to Kerr plan and worked on it for two years. It was finalised and had a start date of January 2017. It must be considered by the Government and honoured, he said.

Postmasters presented half-a-million signatures to the Government calling for action in 2015.

Irish Independent

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