IFA Deputy President + Countryside spokesman Eddie Downey has called for a full review of the existing services offered by post offices and an improvement in the product offering, in order to safeguard the long-term viability of many post offices.
In a submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications, which is examining the future of the post office network, IFA has called on An Post to expand its current product offering to include a wider range of foreign currencies, foreign exchange debit cards and additional deposit and other savings offerings.
Mr. Downey said, “The decision by banks such as AIB to close 20% of their network, National Irish Bank to close 27 branches and Permanent TSB to close 16 branches have had a profound effect on services in rural Ireland. An Post’s network of over 1,100 post offices and a customer base of over 1.8million customers is uniquely positioned to develop its current offering and meet the demand created by the decision of these financial institutions to close branches”.
In its submission, IFA has also called on An Post to publish the criteria used when deciding on what post offices to close, and for better consultation with local communities if post offices are to close.
The Association also highlights the importance of the contract which An Post has for the distribution of payments on behalf of the Department of Social Protection to the viability of many post offices, and that this must be considered when Government decides on the distribution of social welfare payment from 2013 onwards.