I welcome the Government’s plan to secure the future of our post offices, by making the An Post network the front office of Government.
Last night in the Seanad I raised the matter of our post office network with Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte. I was pleased to hear the Minister confirm that the Government has no plans to close post offices, but rather is looking for new ways to expand and improve our postal service.
The Programme for Government commits to ensuring the sustainability of our post office network, which currently employs 3,000 people. I welcome the fact that whole-of-government consideration is to be given to how the post office network can be improved to increase the range of services it provides to the public. Minister Rabbitte outlined his intention for the post office service to become the front office of government and said there will be a holistic review of the service to identify opportunities for how it could be improved.
Irish people are rightly proud of their postal network, and depend on its services being sustained. Post offices offer a valuable and popular product to consumers, but also play a vital community service role in urban and rural areas around the country. The post office network has already adapted extremely well to changing times by offering new services such as foreign exchange, banking and tax payment services. I urge people to support this valued service, and I make the point that if they wish to maintain their local post office, they must use it.