Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy.
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has described reports this week that up to 80 post office branches could close across rural Ireland as an absolute scandal that must be resisted.
Speaking from Brussels Carthy, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture & Rural Development committee, said that the Government and the EU must end their attacks on Ireland's rural post office network.
He said: “Reports that up to 80 post office branches could close across rural Ireland is an absolute scandal that must be resisted.
“Local post office branches are a vital element in the sustainability of many small towns and villages across Ireland. But our rural post office network has been under sustained attack in recent years.
“This has included the closure of many branches, funding cutbacks, the decision of the Department of Social Protection to move to the electronic transfers of social welfare and pension payments, and of course the EU Postal Services Directive that prevents governments from adequately subsidising this essential public service.
“The vital community role of the post office network has been ruthlessly undermined by the EU as well as the successive Irish Governments.
“The EU Postal Services Directive means that all EU Member States must inflict aggressive competition from private companies on their post office network.
“Sinn Fein MEPs have strongly opposed this disastrous measure while Irish government representatives and Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Independent MEPs have supported it.
“The EU Postal Services Directive remains a key threat to the long term survival of Ireland's rural post office network and I call on all Irish MEPs, from all parties and none, to work towards its repeal."