Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Questions (73)

Timmy Dooley


73. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the date by which he will publish An Post's strategic plan for the future of the post office network; if he is satisfied with the implementation of the An Post business network development group report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7466/18]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Strategic Plan referred to in the Question is An Post’s Strategic Plan and publication of same is a matter for An Post. Government was briefed on the plan in November last.

The strategic plan harnesses the company's existing strengths such as its nationwide reach, trusted brand and the relationship of postmasters with communities, both rural and urban. At the same time, An Post has recognised that it must embrace the digital agenda and this is reflected in the plan, especially in the emphasis on growing the parcels business. In line with the recommendations of the Post Office Network Business Development Group Report, enhanced banking services are becoming available through the post office network with the smart bank account. Government has also committed to exploring the potential for extra Government business, including motor tax, to be channelled through the network and my Department is engaging with other relevant Government Departments in this regard. In addition an initiative called “Digital Assist” will use the local post office as a digital gateway for Government business and will be initially rolled out as a pilot initiative across the country.

Discussions on the future of the post office network are a matter for An Post and the Irish Postmasters Union. I understand discussions are ongoing between both parties and I continue to encourage the parties to work closely to find an agreed solution to the renewal of the network. I understand that these discussions are to, among other things, take account of the recommendations of the Post Office Network Business Development Group.