A new initiative by An Post will ensure free delivery of all card and letter mail posted to and from residents of nursing and care homes in the State.

The company said it is being introduced to bring a little joy to nursing homes experiencing increased restrictions.

An Post will carry cards and letters to and from residents of nursing and care homes, without a stamp, with Freepost written where the stamp normally goes. 

An Post also announced that its Community Focus initiative, which involves delivery staff checking in on older people along their routes, will continue until 2021. 

It includes delivery staff picking up the post from the homes of older or vulnerable, who are unable to get out to buy stamps, while An Post will cover the postage. 

Managing Director of An Post Retail Debbie Byrne said it is important that communities are supported through these unprecedented times and that while people continue to remain apart, that people stay connected and do not feel isolated. 

"It’s never been easier to send a little note or card to those who need a little cheer at this time," she added.

The Head of Corporate Communications at An Post has said the letters can be up to 2kg in weight, meaning people can send some sweets of a small magazine in a large envelope.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Anna McHugh said the company is still operating a check-in facility, so people can arrange for the local postman or postwoman to check in on an older or vulnerable person.

Ms McHugh also said they are expecting a busy few weeks ahead and urged people to be organised early this Christmas and not to leave it to the last minute.