C: P L Chadwick / https://www.geograph.ie/photo/3964583 / CC BY-SA 2.0

“Government response to Post Office crisis will meet with a lukewarm reception,” Carol Nolan

Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan has said there is widespread suspicion around the nature and intent of Government proposals to support the Post Office network. Deputy Nolan was speaking after it was reported that Minister of State with responsibility for Postal Services, Hildegarde Naughton, is preparing to bring forward a “targeted and time-bound proposal” in the form of a state subvention of between €10,000 and €12,000 per year as part of a national plan to save the network from collapse:

“The first reaction of a lot of people I have talked to on this matter is that it just does not stack up as a sincere effort by Government to provide permanent guarantees around the future of the Post Office network. They fear that this is a ruse to see Government through up until the next election after which the ‘evidence’ to withdraw the subvention will suddenly materialise and we will be back to square one.” said Deputy Nolan.

“As I understand it from reports this morning the provision of the subsidy will be time-bound and ‘may’ become permanent at a later date. Apparently, this is to allow the 2018 Transformation Agreement plan to be completed, and to give postmasters time to grow their business.”

“I can tell you now that that sort of talk is going to seriously annoy very many Postmasters and Postmistresses as it creates the impression that the problems around expanding the provision of services up until now has somehow been a problem of their own making.”

“Rural post offices in particular have been begging Government to ensure that all potential business activities previously identified by Grant Thornton Report, the former Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications and the Post Office Network Business Development Group be implemented.”

“They have also requested that Government establish a working group to identify the potential for local post offices to act as hubs to facilitate other services such as health, transport, agriculture, etc., and to act as a one-stop-shop for Government services as committed to in the Programme for a Partnership Government.”

“These are objectives I fully support, not the short-termism on display in the reports in today’s media. Indeed these are measures my colleagues in the Rural Independent Group called for in our Dáil Motion of 2016.”

“We need long term solutions not political tricks by a Government that has already demonstrated a profound disinterest in the future of the post office network.” concluded Deputy Nolan.

 

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