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Saturday 23 September 2017

Postmasters to resist plans by An Post to close up to 200 post offices in rural Ireland

The General Post Office on O'Connell Street (Stock picture)
The General Post Office on O'Connell Street (Stock picture)
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 protect outside the headquarters of An Post.

They said they will 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, an existing deal for retiring post masters and the expansion of financial services offered by An Post.

Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) general secretary Ned O’Hara said Government must immediately intervene and stop An Post from stalling the €56m Network development plan.

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

He called on Communications Minister Denis Naughton and the Government to intervene immediately.

“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.

“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, is in crisis and delay will 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 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 is now finalised and has a start date of January 2017. This must be honoured – and Government must take this responsibility and represent the needs of communities which are carefully considered in the report, Mr O’Hara said.

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

The IPU said research in 2016 showed that the vast majority of people place a social and community value on their Post Office and want services in their community.

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