More than 100 post offices could close after An Post reached a deal with the Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) to modernise the country's post office network.

An Post has said it will offer a voluntary scheme with financial incentives for any retiring postmasters.

Of the country's 1,122 post offices, 50 are run directly by An Post, with the remainder operated by postmasters, who are self-employed.

As part of its plans for post offices, An Post is investing €50m in the growth and modernisation of its network.

An Post has committed to having a post office for every community of more than 500 people and ensuring 95% of the population is within 15km of a post office (3km in urban areas).

To achieve this, up to 20 new post offices will be opened around the country.

The State-owned company said there would be "some consolidation to ensure post offices are conveniently and properly located" but that there would be no compulsory closures.

Although there is agreement between An Post and the IPU on plans for the network, around 1,000 postmasters are expected to be balloted on the proposals in the coming weeks.

It could take until the end of the year before closures and new openings are finalised.

As part of the strategy for modernising post offices, An Post Retail has been established as a dedicated business unit within An Post.

The new unit has its own management team, led by newly appointed MD Debbie Byrne.

An Post Retail, which will include post offices, bill pay and post insurance, manages €14 billion of cash annually and has around 3,500 staff.

The modernisation process is expected to take around three years.

An Post has seen a significant turnaround in its business, returning a profit last year of €8.4m after recording a loss of more than €12m in 2016.