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Failure to Implement An Post Kerr Report Inexcusable

18 March 2017

Statement by Sean Sherlock TD
Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources

Labour spokesperson on Communications Sean Sherlock has criticised the lack of urgency shown by the Government in dealing with the challenges facing An Post, and the possible closure of over 200 Post Offices. Over a year on since the publication of the Kerr report, little action has been taken to deliver on its recommendations, and Ministers are failing to take responsibility for its future.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“It’s now nearly two weeks on since it was revealed that 80 post offices will be closed, with a further threat over hundreds more. It’s also over a year on since the Final Report of the Post Office Network Business Development group was published in January 2016.

“We still don’t know where these at risk Post offices are, or when they might close. This is causing huge fear and uncertainty across rural Ireland. No action has been taken by Government to fast track solutions, and actually implement what was recommended in the Kerr report.

“Instead, the current Fine Gael Government, supported by Fianna Fáil, has paid lip service to rural development and renewal.

“Over a year on, where is the e-payment account, and which Minister is taking responsibility for ensuring it is implemented?

“Over a year on, where is the drive to provide motor tax services in our post offices?

“Over a year on, where are the Post Office community hub pilots? We have been told that the Working Group has identified 3 potential options to develop post offices as community hubs in rural areas but we have yet to see any pilot projects.

“Over a year on, where is the revised and amended five-year strategy for the post office network?

“There are three Ministers who are supposed to be in charge of this – from Denis Naughton in the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; to Heather Humphreys and Michael Ring in the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. What is clear is that no one is taking responsibility and that the future of An Post is being endangered.

“Labour stemmed the closure of Post Offices when we were in Government following the disastrous tenure of Fianna Fáil. We left a template to a sustainable Post office network in place, but the lack of action on implementing the Kerr report recommendations since January 2016 is inexcusable.”