400 post offices facing closure in major blow to rural Ireland
An Post intends to close 400 post offices, according to a claim from postmasters.
It is understood most of the closures will occur in rural parts of the country.
In correspondence with its members, the Irish Postmasters Union said that An Post has prepared a "blueprint" which will result in only 700 post offices left.
As there are currently 1,100 post offices currently open in Ireland, this would mean that 400 post offices are set to close, the Irish Independent reports.
An Post has denied that it has decided on any definite number of post office closures.
It maintains that the final number will be determined on the number of staff who decide to take up an exit package as well as how its network consolidation works out.
In a letter seen by the Irish Independent to members of the Postmasters Union, An Post said that the company has prepared a blueprint of what it sees as the "ideal post office network from a commercial and social perspective – this is a network of circa 700 post offices."
Another section of the letter refers to a "major reduction in the number of post offices."
This threat to the future of hundreds of post offices comes as around 800 postmasters are boycotting the introduction of a new Smart current account from An Post.
The Smart current account is considered vital to the viability of post offices across Ireland.
This latest development is one of a number of issues that will be discussed at an emergency general meeting of the Irish Postmasters Union on Sunday.
More than 50pc of the post offices in Ireland are loss making according to An Post.
Exact details of where the proposed post office closures will take place have not been revealed but the closures are expected to take place over the next five years in a number of rural locations.