Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Tallaght (Dublin) Post Office.

25.

asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he is satisfied that the siting of the proposed additional accommodation to provide better facilities at Tallaght post office, Dublin, will not create a traffic hazard for the people using that office.

26.

asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he is satisfied that the safety of the people who will use the proposed new premises intended to provide additional accommodation at Tallaght post office, Dublin, was fully considered when the location of these premises was finally decided upon.

I propose, a Cheann Chomhairle, with your permission to take Questions Nos. 25 and 26 together.

The answer to both questions is yes.

Surely the Minister must be aware that the site of the new post office is at a very dangerous corner and that the traffic is very heavy in Tallaght at the moment. This is a very dangerous area. It is on a very bad bend. I fail to see how the Garda authorities could approve of this location. Would the Minister have a further look at this?

Questions, please.

Could I confirm, as this is a part of the constituency I currently represent, that the site in my opinion is in quite a dangerous place?

I understand and respect the views of the Deputies. But, with respect to them, my Department, which have no expertise in road traffic matters, have to be guided by the views of those who are professionally concerned and competent to judge these matters. That means, of course, the Garda authorities. My Department very properly—and aware of the views of the Deputies and of perhaps a few other people—took steps to consult the Garda authorities at quite an early stage when it was learned there were prospects of renting the Priory Hall as a post office. The Garda authorities advised that they did not consider the transfer of the sub-post office to these premises would create a traffic hazard for the customers. They expressed the view that the present sub-post office premises intended to provide additional danger from traffic because of the unavoidable queueing outside the premises on a very narrow footpath on social welfare payment days. From this point of view the Garda authorities consider the Priory Hall a more suitable location for the sub-post office. They were undoubtedly also influenced by the fact that a light controlled pedestrian crossing is to be provided at a point convenient to the hall and that may be helpful to the Deputies. Road alterations, which will include provision of this crossing, are already in train. That at least is the advice of the Garda authorities. It is my Department's view and my own view that we have to be guided by that advice in such matters.

Do I take the matter as final now? As a local representative for this area and a member of Dublin County Council I am well aware of the problems which exist in this area.

The Deputy may ask a supplementary question but he may not make a statement.

I am concerned with the people at the present moment. I feel the siting of this sub-post office is very bad. I urge the Minister to have a further look at it in the interests of safety.

I know the Deputy's concern is with his constituents in this matter and it is very proper that he should express that. At the same time I have to take into consideration the advice of the Garda in this matter, which is that the present sub-post office is more dangerous as well as more inconvenient for the public in other respects also than the new premises would be. It is a fact that property of all kinds at Tallaght, as the Deputy knows better than I do, is in keen demand. We believe the Department have been fortunate in obtaining suitable premises at all in such a convenient position as the Priory Hall. If this were to be abandoned at this stage, it would not only be contrary to the Garda advice but it would lead to deferment of any new post office in the area and to continuing a post office business in premises which are inconvenient and, in the view of the Garda, unsafe.

27.

asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the reason for the reduction in the number of postal collections in the Cork city area.

The reduction was made in order to conserve petrol supplies and was designed so as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the public and to avoid loss of employment. It will be reviewed when the present restrictions in petrol supplies are lifted.

Is the Minister aware of the serious affect the withdrawal of this service will have on the business life of the city of Cork? Is he further aware that if a person posts a letter in a letterbox in Cork city, say, at 6.30 p.m. on Monday night to a person in the next street, that person will not receive this letter until Wednesday? Is that the kind of treatment Cork city is to get from the Department?

I think the Deputy will appreciate that the necessity to have put into effect certain fuel economies affecting postal deliveries is bound, wherever these economies are effected, to produce some inconvenience. My Department took very careful stock of the situation and the cuts they made were, in their view, those which would cause the minimum inconvenience to the public. Any inconvenience to the public is, of course, regretted, and I shall certainly take account of the Deputy's representations in this question and look into the matter further.

Might I ask the Minister—I am not referring to Cork at the moment——

The question refers to Cork.

——would the Minister give us an assurance that this will not be a permanent arrangement? We have, unfortunately, too many temporary arrangements which never revert to normal.

The question the Deputy has put is an important one. It is one which has also been put to me by the representatives of the unions concerned. I have given all those concerned assurances that economies which are put into practice because of the fuel situation will not be put on a permanent basis. That is to say, when the fuel situation changes——

What reason has the Minister for changing the position in Cork city? He mentions redundancies.

I said nothing at all about redundancies.

I thought the Minister mentioned redundancies. What reason has he for changing the present position?

I thought this was reasonably clear. The Minister for Transport and Power, as a result of the situation which is well known and understood by the public, requested Government Departments to take all steps possible to conserve petrol supplies. It is understood that this is still the position, that we need to be careful about the use of petrol supplies. For these reasons my Department took certain steps aimed at economising fuel. These were—"emergency" is too strong a word— special measures to meet a special situation, and I have informed those concerned that once that special situation is changed, once I hear from my colleague, the Minister for Transport and Power, that matters have reverted to normal in this respect, then the services in question will be restored.

The Minister is now passing this over to the Department of Transport and Power.

Is the Minister aware that during the petrol crisis we had a service in Cork city and now that the position has eased he has taken that service from the city, only last Monday week?

This matter is developing into an argument.