Galway East Labour Party TD Colm Keaveney has called on the Government to make full use of the post office network to deliver public services in a cost efficient manner.
“The vital role that the post office network plays in the community has long been recognised by organisations such as St Vincent de Paul, Age Action Ireland, and the Irish Farmers Association,” Deputy Keaveney said. “They offer many vital services that would be difficult to replace.
“Not only does the post office network and its employees currently offer many services but the opportunity also exists for them to play their part in Ireland’s economic recovery. Public sector reform will lead to 30,000 fewer workers, and local authorities in particular are bearing the brunt of this.”
He suggested that the post office system could provide services such as motor tax renewal, the payment of the household charge, local authority payments, and driver licence renewal. Many of these services are currently provided at tax and council offices only. He added that driver licences could be issued using Passport Express as a model, and that post offices could be given a greater role in the provision of social protection payments.
“The potential cost savings are significant. A Grant Thornton report has estimated that the net savings over a five year period for motor tax renewal alone would be €60.6m,” Deputy Keaveney said.
“Three positive outcomes can be achieved here: the sustainability of communities around the country, particularly rural communities; the achievement of significant cost savings in the provision of public services while protecting the delivery of them; and the securing of over 3,000 jobs in the post offices.”
He added that he has already raised the issue with the relevant government ministers, and that he will continue to highlight it at meetings of the Transport and Communications Joint Committee, as well as bringing it to the attention of An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Deputy Keaveney will be hosting a meeting of postmasters from East Galway as well as other interested parties and will be bringing their views to Government.