Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister of State for Economic Development, Michael Ring, to definitively commit to a government position on the preservation of the Post Office Network. Deputy McGrath was speaking after it emerged that Tipperary Postmasters are seeking to introduce Current Accounts for members as a means to preserve and increase existing services:
“On November 16th last the government was forced to accept a Dáil Motion that I and my colleagues in the Rural Independent Group put forward and one that laid out a clear pathway toward the survival of the post office network.
Unfortunately since then all we have had is empty rhetoric about a commitment to rural Ireland and the vital services that underpin it.
In March of this year Minister Ring asked all interested parties to comment on a proposed new model of community banking to evaluate the viability of the model in the Irish context. But once again, since that point next to nothing has been done in terms of effective action.
This clearly demonstrates that the government has zero real interest in preserving the network and that it is merely committed to keeping on kicking the can down the road until such time as the post offices themselves are left completely unviable.
In that scenario the government may feel it has gotten itself off the hook, but the real result will be the increased inability of many rural communities to access basic services and even simple human contact.
The government must end its shameful ambivalence about the Post Office Network and commit once and for all to implement the terms of our Motion that as I say, lay out a clear and realistic pathway toward survival,” concluded Deputy McGrath.