Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (97)

David Stanton


97. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications his plans to support the post office network, particularly those individual branches under a public service obligation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7179/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The importance of the post office network has been clearly demonstrated throughout the pandemic where we have seen a range of initiatives through our post offices which have helped support local communities, the elderly and vulnerable. The serious decline in mail volumes and the impact of Covid-19 on footfall through post offices has had a severe impact on the postal network and the revenue being generated for postmasters.

A lot of work has been done over the past few years to develop the network and this has had a positive effect for both postmasters and customers. This momentum needs to be maintained and if An Post, the postmasters and Government work together we can ensure that the network can emerge as a central hub for a wide variety of valuable community-focused services.

Government believes An Post has untapped potential to do more and make a further significant contribution across many areas of public, business and community life in Ireland. What we are doing now is working with An Post to investigate the scope to channel additional services through the network. As with any business the post office needs to develop commercial strategies to enable it to grow and maintain its relevance for its users. All options will be considered fully and efforts will be redoubled to give effect to our commitment to ensuring a sustainable and viable post office network.

In the circumstances, there are no proposals to introduce a Government funded subsidy for the post office network.

Question No. 98 answered with Question No. 47.