Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has slammed An Post ‘doomsday plan’ for 400 branch closures
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said that move to close 400 local post office branches would represent a devastating blow to rural Ireland, if allowed to proceed, describing the idea as a ‘doomsday plan’.
The Midlands North West MEP was speaking after the Irish Postmasters Union said that An Post has prepared a blueprint which will result in the number of post offices being reduced from 1,100 to just 700.
If the reported plan goes ahead the closures will take place in mainly rural locations.
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Matt Carthy said: “Any attempt to proceed with a plan to close 400 local post office branches would represent a devastating blow to rural Ireland. Closures of this scale represent a doomsday plan for rural Ireland.
"For generations, the local post office has been at the heart of rural Ireland. The rural post office network must be protected and their services enhanced.
“As with Garda Stations and small rural schools, post offices have also come under attack from Government and EU policy which has stripped back the postal service to the point where its continued existence is now at risk.
“Sinn Féin has sought to protect a universal postal service and to ensure a high minimum standard for rural Ireland. We want to protect access to services for marginalised people and 'in branch' services for public sector contracts.
“We have put forward proposals to reinvigorate the post office network by extending the services to include motor tax renewals, business rates, rents and other Government payment services and by the retention of existing services such as social welfare payments.
“We must also negotiate a comprehensive review and derogation from the EU Postal Services Directive, to increase minimum standards of universal provision and increase obligations to communities, including the protection of branches from closure.
“Rural communities have taken as much attacks on local services as they can manage. We cannot allow the vital services provided by rural post offices to scrapped in the way that has been proposed.”
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