Longford councillor says 'An Post should have been proactive, not reactive' as fallout over closures continues

Aisling Kiernan

Reporter:

Aisling Kiernan

Email:

aisling.kiernan@longfordleader.ie

Post Office

An Post has come under fire over its move to cut back on post office numbers

The future of services offered by the post office network and whether or not the company has been reactive instead of proactive over the last few years are two issues that were addressed by local Fine Gael representatives this week.

Cllr Michael Carrigy, a postmaster himself in Ballinalee, also told the Leader that while he was offered the redundancy package, he refused to take in on the grounds that he owed it to the people he represented to provide them with a service they needed.

Cllr Paul Ross from Legan, which is close to Carrickboy Post Office, said there were numerous business opportunities that an Post could have seized over the years, if it had been more proactive as a company.

ALSO READ: Postmasters to hold protest at GPO in opposition to Post Office closures

Cllr Carrigy did warn, however, that local people do need to start using their post office more and indicated that “a use it or lose it” ethos was very much the mantra of the day.

“Nobody was forced to take the redundancy package that was on offer - I didn’t take it and the fact is that my wage has been reduced as a postmaster because there has been a huge drop in those receiving unemployment benefits,” he added, before pointing out that scenario pointed to an ever improving economy.

“Going forward people need to use the post office or lose it; people need to go to their local post office and do business in it.”

With regards to An Post modernising itself, Cllr Carrigy also admitted that there were areas in which the company could have taken market share and one of those areas included online shopping and courier services.

“We should have been on top of the whole courier delivery - in fact An Post should be the number one parcel carrier in the country; An Post also ran a very successful banking service - Post Bank - which had 200,000 customers, but because it wasn’t supported by previous governments it ceased operating,” he said.

“I do believe that if that service had gotten the support it needed at the time, then we would have a very different post office network now.”

Cllr Ross, meanwhile says that we are now living in a cashless society and cash was and is the main business of any post office.

“Payments that would have been processed in post offices traditionally are now being made through banks and into bank accounts, so that is a huge chunk of business gone ,” he added.

“I too would feel that An Post missed the boat when it came to parcel delivery.

“Couriers are doing a great business these days delivering goods and An Post was primarily placed to take advantage of that, but they missed the boat.

“The very successful An Post bank is also gone this past eight years and it was a very bad idea to get rid of that service.

“An Post should have been proactive, not reactive.”

And, as the postmasters of the both Mullinalaghta and Carrickboy prepare to close their businesses, Cllr Carrigy took the opportunity to wish DP Finnegan well.

The local area representative in Ballinalee also said that, as a representative on the Rural Transport Scheme, he would do everything in his power to ensure that those who needed transport in Mullinalaghta to access their pensions, etc in an alternative post office would be provided with that.

“I want to thank DP Finnegan and his family for the service they have given to the people of Mullinalaghta,” he continued.

“I will be working to ensure there is a post office box maintained in Mullinalaghta.”