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FG's Flanagan apologises to Rabbitte over attacks

A SENIOR Fine Gael TD has apologised to Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte after his party attacked him over potential post office closures.

Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan made the intervention in an attempt to neutralise a row between the coalition partners this week, which resulted in a number of Labour TDs publicly hitting out at their Fine Gael colleagues.

The row erupted after Fine Gael headquarters encouraged its own backbenchers to heap pressure on Mr Rabbitte by sending out a press release that singled him out.


Laois-Offaly TD Mr Flanagan approached Mr Rabbitte and apologised for what he said represented a "major embarrassment" for Fine Gael.

The Government has now pledged to carry out a review of the post office network as ministers in both parties reject claims of mass closures.

The claims stem from a Grant Thornton report, commissioned by the Irish Postmasters' Union (IPU), which predicts that close to 600 post offices face closure by 2017.

The union has warned that the closures will happen as a result of efforts by the Department of Social Protection to move to an electronic payments model.