The Chief Executive of An Post has said that the cost of a national stamp is to rise from 72c to €1 and that some post offices will have to close as part of cost-savings measures.

David McRedmond said the price increase is about setting the right price and it is the "pretty much the average price across Europe."

Speaking on RTÉ's Six One, Mr McRedmond said the increase is essential if there is to be a good postal service.

As part of cost cutting measures, Mr McRedmond said post offices will be forced to close but he could not confirm how many.

Speaking earlier on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O'Rourke, Mr McRedmond said that the 28 cent increase is necessary and, at €1, it is still a very good value service.

An Post, he said, had the highest quality ratings in Europe, the best next day service in Europe and the best international mail service in Europe.

However, he said, to have all this, it must be funded.

Mr McRedmond said there has been a decline of nearly 50% globally in mail volumes and that fall is expected to continue by between 5% and 10% a year.

He said that An Post had to be properly funded so strategic work, to ensure the maintenance of a sustainable post office service, can be carried out.

Until now, he said, prices have been kept artificially low in Ireland.

Mr McRedmond also said there was no point in having a post office that was not in walking distance of anywhere.

Mr McRedmond added that as many post offices as possible will be kept open.

He said under new plans post offices will launch additional services in financial services along with an expansion of the amount of licences that can be sold in post offices.

He said that staff numbers will have to be reduced substantially over the next decade and there will be redundancies.

He said that other post services that have been through similar restructuring have come out the other side and are good, solid businesses.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Communications has said the seriousness of An Post's situation was outlined to him in November.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Denis Naughten said he wanted to protect the An Post brand, which he said had huge potential.

He said he wanted to protect the five-day delivery service and the mail service across the country. 

There was a lot of work that had to be done, said Mr Naughten, and the company is expected to have a strategic plan to present to the board within a number of weeks. 

He added that giving the company flexibility in relation to the price cap would give it room to make the changes that are needed and position itself for the future.