The government is to establish an inter-departmental group co-chaired by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to examine the feasibility of directing more government business to the post office network.

The group will report back to government by the end of July.

Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton Image source: Facebook

Minister of State for Postal Services, Hildegarde Naughton said: “Government is committed to delivering services using channels geared to the needs of the public.

Government also remains committed to a sustainable post office network as a key component of the economic and social infrastructure in both rural and urban areas.

“The pandemic has again demonstrated the strong customer service ethos of the network. Government is committed to working with An Post and postmasters to ensure that the network continues to play a strong role in delivering state services,” she added.

Importance of accessibility

The junior minister noted that developments in information and communication technology have transformed how the government and citizens interact with each other in recent years, and have radically reformed the way in which the government delivers its services.

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen an increase in online engagement, with government and online systems key in the swift processing of applications for pandemic supports and other government services.

The junior minister said that it is important to recognise that a cohort of the population does not have access to, or capacity to, avail of online services and alternative access, through traditional channels, will be essential to them.

She said that this would ensure that public service delivery continues to be geared to customers, irrespective of how they wish to engage with the government.

“Government believes An Post has untapped potential to do more and make a further significant contribution across many areas of public, business and community life in Ireland,” Minister Naughton concluded.