An Post

“An Post ignoring Councils Thurles Shopping Centre Enforcement Letter,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that An Post are displaying an unacceptable disregard for county planning laws after it emerged that a warning and Enforcement Letter (attached) was issued against Thurles Shopping Centre development over its non-compliance with a number of conditions related to its planning permission. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the matter was raised at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Housing and Planning, of which he is a member:

“This matter was brought to the attention of the Committee in order to highlight the fact that An Post, as a semi state body are continuing to develop their new premises at the Thurles Shopping Centre despite the serious planning breaches that have been identified at that development by Tipperary County Council.
These breaches are very serious, and they include the restricting of access for emergency vehicles.

It is totally and utterly unacceptable for An Post to simply ignore this warning letter from the County Council and the Director of Services.
At the very least, given An Post’s position, it should have ceased or suspended all work until the unauthorised developments at the Thurles Shopping Centre have been regularised.

What does it say about An Post’s respect for the statutory role that the local authority has to play with respect to planning laws if it just ignores letters of this kind and carries on regardless?

I am calling on An Post to immediately cease all work at the Thurles Shopping Centre and to show some respect for the planning laws that every other small business in Thurles and the rest of the county have to comply with,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

An Post Community Local Issues Press Releases Rural Ireland

“Minister’s statement on Thurles Post Office full of contradictions”, Mattie McGrath

Press Release




Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said the reasons provided by the Minister for Communications, Richard Bruton, as to why he cannot intervene in the decision to move Thurles Post Office from Liberty Square to Thurles Shopping Centre, do not stand up to scrutiny. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Minister confirmed on Tipp FM that he cannot direct An Post to suspend the move because it is a commercial company and he has no authority to go against its plans:


“I think most people who heard the Minister’s remarks will have been struck by how selective and arbitrary they were in terms of what he or the government can or cannot do about this move.


Not two minutes before he made his remarks about An Post being a commercial company; he was at pains to try and convince us that the government will protect the public interest when it comes to decisions made by the commercial company who have been awarded the €3 billion National Broadband Plan contract.


So on the one hand he is saying; when it comes to An Post, I can do nothing and cannot intervene.


While on the other hand he is offering us all kinds of assurances that despite the contract winner for the broadband plan being a commercial company he will ensure safeguards are in place to protect the common good.


I also want to make it clear that we are where we are in large part because of the inability or unwillingness of the two government supporting Tipperary TD’s, Deputy Cahill and Deputy Lowry, to effectively hold this Minister to account.


Given the support they have offered this government and given the need government has for every single vote in the Dáil; then clearly they could have applied more substantial pressure and they have chosen not to do so,” concluded Deputy McGrath.




An Post Community Local Issues Press Releases

“Confirmation that Newcastle Post Office to remain open is fantastic news,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release


“Confirmation that Newcastle Post Office to remain open is fantastic news,” Mattie McGrath




Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said there is significant relief and happiness at the news that the Post Office in Newcastle Village, Clonmel, is to stay open despite previous announcements by An Post that it would cease operations on January 31st.


Deputy McGrath was speaking this evening after a public meeting on the future of the Post Office that was organised by the Newcastle Save Our Post Office Committee:


“At the outset, I want to warmly welcome this fantastic news. It is a great result for the entire community.


I also want to salute the hard work and dedication of the local Save Our Post Office Committee who never gave up despite a near total lack of engagement by management in An Post and the Independent Assessor who made the decision to formally close our Post Office in November.


I also want to acknowledge the public spirited decision of the Post Mistress Catherine McCarra to stay in place and to continue her many years of service.


This decision marks an important need for the wider community to get behind our Post Office and to embrace a real and meaningful ‘use it or lose it’ approach.


We have shown in this instance that when a community comes together to protect its services, great results can follow.


In the meantime I will continue to make every effort to have the Department of Communications and the Department of Social Protection direct as much as government support and services in to our Post Offices  as possible to in order to guarantee long term viability.


For now however, we can all celebrate this marvellous news as a significant step in our efforts to rejuvenate and revive our community,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



An Post Banks Community Local Issues Rural Ireland

“Minister’s speech on Post Office closures a tragic lost opportunity,” Mattie McGrath & Michael Collins 

Press Release 


Rural Independent Group TD’s Mattie McGrath and Michael Collins have accused the Minister for Communications, Denis Naughten, of having completely bought into the rhetoric of blaming rural communities and rural Post Masters and Post Mistresses for the proposed closure of up to 159 Post Offices. The TD’s were speaking after Minister Naughten appeared to accept the closures as a fait accompli while offering no commitments of government support for those Post Offices that may require a temporary government subsidy: 

“Those of us who went before the Committee yesterday to hear what positive solutions the Minister might advance, and in the hope that there might be some kind of political accountability were left bitterly disappointed.

Minister Naughten delivered a speech that was practically a carbon copy of a speech given by his predecessor, Pat Rabbitte, to the Seanad in July 2013.

Both speeches spoke of the need for change and for innovation as if that was some kind of staggering insight on government’s behalf.

The only problem is that the change and innovation that has been proposed and strongly supported by us for well over a decade has been utterly resisted all along the way in a series of catastrophic delaying tactics that has eventually led us to where we are today.

Minister Naughten then proceeded to draw wide ranging implications around who was to blame for the Post Office closures by citing one apparent instance of a lack of rural engagement. That was completely disingenuous and betrays the mentality that really exists behind this attack.

Minister Naughten also spoke of the dangers of government subsidies. Again, this is was completely disingenuous and unfair.

As then Minister Rabbitte noted in 2013, the post office network secures at least €126 million worth of business from the Government each year through its delivery of social welfare payments.

That is exactly the kind of service we need to see protected and expanded and it would totally avoid this nonsense around fears of government subsidies.

The message from those us in rural Ireland is that the fight is far from over and that we will continue until rural Ireland receives the fairness it is entitled to.”


An Post Community Local Issues

Government’s ultimate aim is to have Post Offices sign their own death warrant,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has launched a scathing attack on leaked proposals to close 112 rural Post Offices that includes the post offices in the Tipperary locations of Ballingarry, Templetouhy, Gortnahoe, Littleton and Clogheen. Deputy McGrath went on to say that the closures which are part of the agreement reached between The Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) and An Post is just another aspect of the unembarrassed contempt for rural Ireland that is poisoning all levels of central government policy:

“In April of this year the IPU hyped up the outcome of its negotiations with An Post, an outcome that was allegedly all about maintaining the delivery of local post office services throughout the state.

Today we know that those words were absolutely meaningless.

That so called agreement included a €50m investment in the Post Office Network and negotiated redundancy settlements and was sold as snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

Well if success involves the closure of five Tipperary post offices, then it is clear that the IPU have been totally outmanoeuvred.

Investment in the Network should have been a given and not a concession that had to be dragged kicking and screaming from the top brass in an Post and in the Department.

The same can be said of the retirement or redundancy packages. Everyone who has given a lifetime of service as post masters and mistresses have should be entitled to those by right and again, not as some concession that could be denied.

It looks very much like the IPU were suckered into signing their own member’s death warrants, a move that is being facilitated by the refusal to comprehensively transfer services to existing rural post offices.

If you cut off the oxygen supply of services from any business then it is only a matter time before a voluntary surrender occurs.

That is what seems to be happening here. The government and An Post have been cutting off the oxygen supply for years while at the same time they want to blame rural communities for not using their post office.

Ultimately however, this list of proposed closures is a damning indictment of the utter ruthlessness that kicks in when it comes to rural Ireland.

It demonstrates yet again, that the effect of their policies is ultimately to have us on our knees begging for services; services that should be ours by right,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


An Post Banks Community

“Post Office deal must not become Trojan Horse for pillar banks,” Mattie McGrath


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.



An Post Community Rural Ireland

“Cautious welcome for Post Office Network survival plan,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he cautiously welcomes the announcement by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten that he has secured Government approval to immediately provide €30million of State funding to protect the future of the post office network and the continuation of a 5 day week postal delivery service to every address in the country.
Deputy McGrath was speaking after Minister Naughten also indicated that the funding will be subject to stringent conditions and Key Performance Indicators, the delivery of which will be monitored on a monthly basis:
“This is a welcome but long overdue and partial realisation of commitments that I and my colleagues in the Rural independent Group achieved Dáil approval for in November of 2016.
We achieved majority support for our Motion in 2016 that called on the government to keep the commitments it made regarding the Post Office Network and which were outlined in the Programme for a Partnership Government;
In 2016 we also called for an action plan for the post office network to be drawn up within three months. While it has taken the Minister and this government more than treble that time to act, I welcome the fact that he has made a significant first step in the right direction.
I also want to acknowledge the commitment given to further explore the possibility of linking the community banking model to the work of An Post.
I have been calling for the implementation of a new community banking service operated by An Post and which could be based on either the New Zealand Kiwibank model or the German Sparkassen model for some years now.
Further clarification will have to be sought about what exactly the Minister means by linking the support to ‘stringent conditions.’
If that just turns out to be a way of justifying mass closures of post offices then it will utterly unacceptable,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


An Post Community Rural Ireland

“Post Office Network being left to wither and die on the vine,” Mattie McGrath


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.