Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Questions (67)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

67. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the steps he is taking to ensure the financial sustainability of the post office network; when the public service obligation funding will be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10370/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

A lot of work has been done over the past few years to develop the post office 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.

While it is longstanding Government policy that postal services will not be directly subsidised by the Government, we remain fully committed to a sustainable post office network as a key component of the economic and social infrastructure in both rural and urban areas.

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. I intend to set out a series of next steps on the Offline Services Report shortly.

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.