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Post Office closures detrimental to rural living

29 August 2018

Statement by Willie Penrose TD
Spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Rural & Community Affairs

Following the announcement today of 159 Post Office closures over the next four months, Labour Spokesperson on Rural Affairs Willie Penrose has called on An Post to reexamine the issuing of licenses to willing Postmasters.

Speaking today, Deputy Penrose said:

“The closure of 159 post offices over the next four months will be detrimental to rural living. If we want to see rural towns and villages expanding and thriving, we need to be investing in them, not running from them.

“Every one of those Post Office closures represents job losses in rural communities. While I appreciate that most are voluntary redundancies or retirements, I believe that An Post should offer the licenses to willing locals who want to keep their Post Offices going.

“This latest round of Post Office closures will leave some people with a 30 km round trip to access their Post Office. That is a 30 km round trip to collect a pension, fill out a tax form or get a child benefit payment.

“The CEO of An Post stated this morning that he wants to see more government services rolled out in Post Offices and to give people a better service. While I agree with him that An Post should be able to offer more services to its customers, I would ask him how he thinks making rural communities more isolated from these services helps anyone.

“I note that the only county in the country to not experience closures will be Dublin. This is another example of rural communities being left behind yet again. Post Offices are a necessary service and job provider, which help keep rural communities viable places to live and work."