Galway East independent TD Seán Canney has introduced a motion in Private Members’ Business on foot of what he says is the government’s lack of action in supporting the post offices.

The motion follows from a previous motion in October last year by the Regional Group of TDs, of which deputy Canney is a member.

He said: “The post office network is on a cliff edge and without government support we will see the closure of post offices across the region.”

Regional TDs want support for post offices

There are a number of ways the regional independent TDs feel that the government can support the post office network.

Some of the points they make are as follows:

  • Introduce an interim solution that will be effective and deliverable from July 2021, to guarantee the current post office network and prevent further closures;
  • Provide long-term certainty in order to enable postmasters to invest, develop and grow their businesses;
  • Ensure that all citizens have full access to the important services they provide;
  • Designate the post office network as the ‘offline gateway’ of choice for citizens availing of state services;
  • Reinvigorate the post office network by extending the services which post offices provide and by retaining existing services such as social welfare payments;
  • Begin the provision of offline government services, with the availability of motor tax renewal through the post office network;
  • Locus for future development of financial services outside of the existing banking framework.

Private Members’ Motion

The first motion by the Regional Group of TDs on October 21, last year, was agreed but was deferred for six months at that time.

Deputy Canney has said that he believes that people recognise that a sustainable nationwide post office network is a “key component of the economic and social infrastructure in both rural and urban areas”.

He added that post offices provide crucial public and financial services to communities all around Ireland, especially in rural and isolated areas.

The independent TD said that since the start of this month, post offices have faced a major challenge as a significant reduction in payment rates takes effect.

“I have seen first-hand the devastation the closure of a post office has caused to rural communities such as Eyrecourt, Caherlistrane, Ballyglunin and Ardrahan [in Co. Galway]. It is appalling,” the deputy said.

“We cannot continue to pay lip service to this very important issue; we must act now,” he concluded.