Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Questions (319)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

319. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of post offices closed on an annual basis in each of the past ten years to date; the extent to which any trend emerging can be addressed by way of the utilisation of the postal network for added compatible services on a nationwide basis; the degree to which discussions continue to take place in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12182/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

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. Information provided by the company indicates that the number of post offices closed on an annual basis over the last ten years is as follows:

-

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Post Office Closures

54

46

47

76

38

12

72

8

4

5

An Post has undertaken a programme of capital investment in the computerisation of the post office network including the automation of all post offices. The post office network stands well positioned to become the front office provider of choice for Government and the financial services sector for electronic transactions and over the counter transactions.

An Post has made much progress towards diversification with its enhanced arrangement with Aviva for the transfer of Aviva Ireland’s branch office personal business insurance business book to One Direct. The opportunity to pay Local Property Tax through the post office network has also been secured.

On 25 February, I announced that a whole of government consideration of the nature and extent of services that can be provided to the public using the post office network as a front office of government would be undertaken, in the first instance, by the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy. I hope that the Committee will make further progress on a holistic approach to sustaining and developing the network consistent with European law. A timeline of within six months is envisaged for the conclusion of the Cabinet Committee’s work.