I propose to take Questions Nos. 41 and 70 together.
As previously advised, there are no plans to bring forward a public service obligation at this time. An Post is a commercial semi-state company and it is longstanding Government policy that postal services will not be directly subsidised by the taxpayer. The Government remains fully committed to a sustainable An Post and post office network as a key component of the economic and social infrastructure throughout Ireland. A long-term low interest loan of €30m was provided to the company in December 2017, of which €15m was to support and protect the renewal of the post office network. As with any business An Post and individual post offices need to continue to develop commercial strategies to enable them to grow and maintain their relevance for current and future customers.
The work of the Inter-Departmental Group, which was established to, inter alia, examine the feasibility of additional Government services being provided through to An Post and the post office network, is at an advanced stage and the report will be submitted to Government in the near future.