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Post offices need welfare to survive - Donegal politicians 17.06.15

THE Government has been accused of "talking with two sides of the mouth" in relation to the need for post offices to become more viable.
It follows the publication of a Government-backed interim report and six-point plan by the Post Office Network Business Development Group to develop post offices nationally. Included are proposals for post offices to diversify into financial services and the delivery of public services including motor tax renewals.
The report found that two-thirds of all transactions are conducted in just 300 of the country's national network of 1,140 post offices.
Gaeltacht Minister and Donegal TD Joe McHugh said:“The future of post offices in rural Ireland including places like Donegal is a key priority for this Government. Through the work of this group, of which I have been an active participant, I believe that the long-term approach agreed in this report, focusing on financial services, social enterprise, public services and white labelling will lead to the survival of our post offices."
But Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy said: “It is ironic that, as the working group appointed by the Government is announcing proposals to develop the network, the Tánaiste Joan Burton has introduced a new pension application form which encourages pensioners to receive payments via bank transfer. This means that, effectively, more post offices will close as a result of the actions of this Government."
Meanwhile, Independent Donegal TD Thomas Pringle claimed the Government was "talking with two sides of the mouth".
"There’s a contradiction here. The Department of Social Protection has a €55m contract vital to An Post, one of its main contracts. So how can the Government be telling it to diversify if it’s taking business away from them in the first place?"
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