Support for more services at post offices
RURAL post offices need to be supported and not downgraded into history, Cllr Michael Sheehan argued.
Calling on his fellow councillors to support the Post Office Network and the Six Point Plan advanced by the Postmasters Union, Cllr Sheehan said post offices need to expand into banking and payment platforms. He also called on the Minister for Social Protection to ensure that future welfare reforms give equal priority to payments in the post office on all correspondence. He said the prevalence of online banking where people are having social welfare payments lodged into their account rather than going into their post office, is depriving people of an important social outlet, particularly in rural areas.
Cllr Michael Whelan said: 'Coming from a post office background I realise the importance of the post office service in rural communities.'
Cllr Robbie Ireton said the problem is that post offices close down because they are handed over to the next generation and they decide to close them having been robbed at knife or gun point. He added: 'A lot of Social Welfare people are not going into their post office because they are gone back to work because of this government.'
'That's how we're being robbed,' another councillor piped up. Cllr John Fleming said when a post office closes, so does the shop beside it, in most cases. Cllr Fionntán O' Súilleabháin said a motion identical to Cllr Sheehan's was already passed last September, while Cllr Malcolm Byrne expressed concern that Tesco in Gorey is advertising a postal service.
'We have managed to avoid the large, out of town super centres and to preserve our towns. The post office has a very key social importance,' he said.