It is Government policy that An Post remains a strong and viable company, in a position to provide a high quality, nationwide postal service and maintain a nationwide customer focussed network of post offices in the community. The importance of maintaining a network of post offices around the country is recognised in the Programme for Government. That said, the Deputy should be aware that operational matters and the role of developing commercial strategies for the post office network are a matter for the Board and management of An Post and not one in which I have a statutory function. As shareholder, however, I have a strong concern in relation to the ongoing commercial position of the Company and I regularly liaise with the Company in this regard.
The reports undertaken by the Irish Postmasters' Union and the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications on the future of the post office network set out many options for exploration in relation to the future development by An Post of the post office network. The company has already invested in the computerisation of all post offices which leaves the post office network well positioned to become the front office provider of choice for Government and the financial services sector. Any such developments would, of course, need to be subject to public procurement requirements as appropriate.