To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the extent to which efforts continue to identify various services, suitable for inclusion in the portfolio of services for administration by An Post with particular reference to the utilisation of the nationwide network of post offices, sub-post offices and counter services thereby providing an enhanced role for the Post Office in both urban and rural areas and simultaneously contributing to the viability and scale of services available through An Post; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Bernard J. Durkan.
For ORAL answer on Thursday, 17th July, 2014.
Ref No: 31622/14 Lottery: 21
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Mr. Alex White T.D.)
It is Government policy that An Post remains a strong and viable company, in a position to provide a high quality, nationwide postal service and maintain a nationwide customer focussed network of post offices in the community.
Proposals for a whole-of-government review of the scope for providing additional public services through local post offices were presented to the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy at its meeting on 28 April 2014. In its initial consideration, the Committee agreed to the proposal for a review of the scope of additional public services in the post offices. This process is underway and my Department is now examining the initial responses received with a view to engaging in further discussions with Departments as necessary with the aim of presenting a final report to the Cabinet Committee in September.
I see a strong future for the network by using its existing strengths to remain a significant player in the provision of Government, financial and other services. Securing the future viability of the post office network in the longer term will entail the network continuing to modernise, as it is doing, to provide the services that its customers require. Any such developments would need to be subject to competition and public procurement requirements as appropriate.