Three post offices could close in An Post review

Wednesday 26 February 2014 21.50
Residents of Barnaderg in Co Galway have appealed to An Post to keep the post office open
Residents of Barnaderg in Co Galway have appealed to An Post to keep the post office open

An Post has said it is considering future service provision needs at three locations and it could lead to the closure of three post offices.

Two of the post offices are in Co Donegal and the other is at Barnaderg in Co Galway.

The company said it routinely reviews the operation of contract post offices when a postmaster dies or retires.

As part of the process, it examines the type and extent of business conducted at the office, population trends, distance to neighbouring post offices and how they might cope with increased pressures.

It also invites submissions from locals to get their views on how services are provided.

A decision on the future of the office in Barnaderg is expected in the coming days.

Almost 1,100 of the country's post offices are operated on a contract basis. Five review consultations have taken place in the last year.

These resulted in the closure of three offices and the re-advertising of contracts for two others.

The company said it also opened two new contract offices in Glencar, Co Donegal and at Citywest in Dublin.

An Post said it is piloting a "Post and Pay" facility in four Tesco branches.

The system allows customers to post letters and parcels, buy stamps and pay bills when they are shopping.

An Post said no contracts have been entered into and that it may trial the service in other retail outlets during the year.

It said the initiative is part of a response to a significant decline in mail volumes in recent years.

The Irish Postmasters' Union has said it is concerned about the "Post and Pay" facility in Tesco branches.

Sub-post office operators are self-employed and the IPU said there are more than 3,500 people employed in the network throughout Ireland.

Meanwhile, IPU General Secretary Brian McGann has said that Government inaction could lead to post office closures.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Mr McGann said the Programme for Government has committed to maintaining the post office network, but he said there is no plan.

The IPU met TDs today against a backdrop of a new report, commissioned by the union, warning of the potential closure of hundreds of post offices around the country.

The report carried out by Grant Thornton says that if An Post loses the contract to pay out social welfare benefits, then over 550 post offices could close.

Mr McGann said under a contract recently awarded, the Department of Social Protection is actively trying to drive business out of post offices and into banks.

He said the department has said that by 2017 it wants to almost eliminate cash payment at post offices.

Yesterday, Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte said the Government has no plan to close post offices.

Keywords: an post