THE Government has been
accused of "talking with two sides of the mouth" in
relation to the need for post offices to become more
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
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
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?"