There is no Government plan or desire to shut post offices throughout County Galway, but there are still “significant challenges facing An Post”.
This is according to Fine Gael Galway West TD Seán Kyne, who is also calling for action to be taken to protect post offices still operating in rural areas.
There was widespread concern about the future of many rural post offices following the publication of a report which speculated that more than 500 such offices may close if An Post lost the social welfare contract.
However as Dep Kyne pointed out, An Post did not lose the contract, but was successful in bidding for the social welfare contract last year.
Dep Kyne, nonetheless, noted that “significant challenges” remain, particularly the more than 25 per cent drop in business due to electronic communication and increased competition in the delivery sector. That said, some 900 post offices closed between 2001 and 2006, but just 17 have ceased operation in the last three years.
“While one closure can have a huge impact on a rural area it is important we act now to ensure we minimise any possible further losses,” said Dep Kyne.
The Galway TD said he is supporting the planned Cabinet sub-committee to examine the future of the State’s post office network. He is also calling for An Post to take a major role in the introduction of the standard bank account which is designed to mitigate financial exclusion.