Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that serious question remain about the long term implications of the proposed deal between An Post and the Irish Postmasters Union (IPU). Deputy McGrath was speaking ahead of a potentially transformative vote on the matter when IPU members meet today to discuss the planned agreement:
“There are many aspects of this agreement that reflect the successful Dáil motion on the future of the post office network that was initiated by my colleagues and I in the Rural Independent Group in November of 2016.
It is only a pity that it took this long for others to see the necessity of what we proposed two years ago.
I specifically welcome the decision by An Post to invest €50 million in modernising the network
I also welcome the commitment by An Post to have a post office available for every community
of over 500 people.
As I understand it however, the deal proposes to establish community banking platforms within post offices where they will work in “close association” with the pillar banks.
The detail of what that means must be made absolutely clear. After all, the banks are not exactly renowned for their commitment to supporting potential competitors.
Therefore we must work to ensure that we avoid a situation whereby the dominance of the banks does not eventually lead to a fatal undermining of the community banking model itself.
I sincerely hope that questions on this matter will be raised at the IPU meeting ahead of the vote,” concluded Deputy McGrath.