Fine Gael Waterford Senator Paudie Coffey said Fine Gael has halted the rapid decline in our post office network which took place under Fianna Fáil administrations.
Senator Coffey said that between 2002 and 2010 a total of ten post offices closed across Waterford under Fianna Fáil’s watch.
Senator Coffey said: “I am aware of Fianna Fáil holding meetings purporting to be concerned about saving our post offices.
“This is the height of hypocrisy- it should not be forgotten that under Fianna Fáil, between 2002 and 2010, 629 post offices closed around the country. They are now claiming they want to save our local post offices after their own cull of the network.”
Senator Coffey continued: “Fine Gael remains committed to a viable Post Office network and is taking a number of steps to secure the network in the long term in the changed operating environment for the business.
“A pilot scheme which sees Post Offices act as community hubs will be rolled out to a further 150 post offices nationwide if proven to be successful. The pilot scheme will see ICT, advice centres and other services provided in rural post offices.
“The potential for a motor tax renewal service to be offered through the post office network is also being examined.
“A public consultation process has taken place in relation to local community banking as committed in the Programme for Government. In addition, the Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, renewed his Department’s contract with An Post to provide pensions, child benefit and other social welfare payments in cash at Post Offices.
“Last year’s contract amounted to 썤million for more than 35 million payments, and the value of the 2017 contract is expected to match that. Minister Varadkar also re-affirmed Government policy that all new claimants for pensions, Child Benefit and other social welfare payments should be informed of the option to receive cash payments at their local post office.
“These steps clearly outline Fine Gael’s commitment to supporting our local Post Offices.”