Bord na gCon

Ceisteanna (280)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

280. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will publish a business analysis report prepared for an organisation (details supplied) by another organisation as reported in a programme; and when the report in question was completed and submitted to his Department. [28602/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Bord na gCon is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. Bord na gCon is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Bord na gCon has informed me that the report in question, which was commissioned by Bord na gCon's interim CEO in early 2017, was completed on 29 September 2017 and was received by my Department on 24th May 2019.

I understand that the document has been published on Bord na gCon's official website in recent days in a redacted form.

State Bodies

Ceisteanna (281)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

281. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when he last met the Chief Executive Officer and-or Chairperson of Irish National Stud; the issues that were discussed; when he expects to next meet the Chief Executive Officer and or Chairperson; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28606/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Irish National Stud Company is a commercial State Body.

I last met the chairperson of the Irish National Stud, on Tuesday 11th April 2017. The items discussed during the meeting were an update on the financial performance of the stud, the recruitment of a new Chief Executive Officer, the establishment of a tourist orientated visitor centre and the setting up of a subsidiary company.

I have also met both the Chair and the CEO of the Irish National Stud at a number of industry events, including the Equine Summits held November 2017 and in April 2018.

My officials are in regular contact with officials at the Irish National stud. My Secretary General met the Chair in May 2019 and there are regular governance meetings at official level throughout the year.

National Oil Reserves Agency Data

Ceisteanna (282, 283, 284, 285)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

282. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the current rate of the National Oil Reserves Agency levy; and the annual revenue raised by the levy in each year since 2007, in tabular form. [28342/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

283. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the sources of revenue that comprise the total revenue collected through the National Oil Reserve Agency levy; and the percentage paid by oil producers and normal consumers and so on in each year since 2007, in tabular form. [28343/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

284. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the National Oil Reserve Agency levy is an Exchequer revenue source; and, if so, if the reallocation of the levy to the climate action fund will have an impact on the Exchequer. [28344/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

285. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the National Oil Reserve Agency levy is collected in a non-Exchequer fund; if so, the amount of revenue accumulated in the fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28345/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 282 to 285, inclusive, together.

The National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA) is a non-commercial State body under the aegis of my Department with responsibility for the maintenance of Ireland’s strategic oil reserves. NORA is funded through a levy placed on the sale of most oil products. The current rate of the NORA levy is 2 cent per litre, having been set at this rate in 2009. Oil Companies are liable for payment of this levy when oil is placed on the market. However, I understand that the levy is passed on to consumers, both retail and commercial, when purchasing oil. The annual revenue from the NORA levy from 2007 to 2018 was as follows:

Year

Annual Revenue

2018

€134,185,000

2017

€130,410,000

2016

€131,766,000

2015

€130,380,000

2014

€121,337,000

2013

€123,420,257

2012

€122,755,088

2011

€129,664,352

2010

€139,711,142

2009

€93,327,372

2008

€81,367,837

2007

€46,708,092

NORA levy monies are paid directly by the oil companies to NORA and not to the Exchequer.

Prior to 2009, the NORA levy was 1c per litre of product. This was not sufficient to meet NORA’s expenses, including the purchase of oil stocks for use in an emergency, and a very considerable level of borrowing had built up. The levy was increased from 1 cent to 2 cent in 2009, primarily to manage and repay this debt, but also to build up stocks and secure additional storage, both within Ireland and abroad, to ensure Ireland held its 90-day obligation in physical stocks.

By April 2017 NORA had repaid all its outstanding debt obligations (€444m in 2009) and now meets Ireland’s oil stockholding obligations fully with physical stock. NORA was debt free throughout 2018.

The company’s closing cash balance at 31st December 2018 was €183.9m. This will be used for:

a) NORA’s ongoing financing requirements and commitments;

b) the purchase of additional oil stocks associated with planned changes in storage contract arrangements, including stock to be purchased in 2020 and held at the ESB-owned oil storage site at Poolbeg, which has been refurbished by NORA.

Government approved the establishment of the Climate Action Fund (CAF), to be funded by the excess of receipts over costs from the NORA levy, to support projects that will help towards reducing Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions. Legislative proposals are currently being designed for the repurposing of the NORA levy to include meeting NORA’s expenses, and to provide future financing to the CAF. As NORA levy funding is not paid to the Exchequer, the repurposing of a portion of this funding for the CAF will have no impact on the Exchequer.

Sale of State Assets

Ceisteanna (286)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

286. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount received from the privatisation of Telecom Éireann including all subsidiaries in 1999; the costs incurred in the privatisation; the net proceeds from same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28317/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

While files from the then Department of Public Enterprise for the period in question will have been archived, details regarding this matter were presented at a meeting of then Public Accounts Committee on 7 December 2000 in respect of the 1999 Annual Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Appropriation Accounts 1999 for Vote 32. These details include the following: in 1996 20% of Telecom Éireann’s shares were sold as part of a strategic alliance with Comsource an entity owned by KPN Telecom BV of the Netherlands (60%) and Telia AB of Sweden (40%). An additional 15% of shares were acquired by this entity along with the transfer of 14.9% of the shares to employees before the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Telecom Éireann shares in 1999. These transactions yielded over IE£ 1.5 billion (€1.9 billion) to the State from the sale of shares to Comsource. The State received an additional IE£190 million (€241.25 million) from the share allocation to staff. In 1999 The State received IE £3.3 billion (€4.19 billion) in the Initial Public Offering (IPO) for Telecom Éireann.

In total, the Exchequer received IE£5 billion for the total sale of Telecom Éireann shares, and the costs of the flotation were IE£76.9 million (€97.64 million).

State Bodies Data

Ceisteanna (287)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

287. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the amount the ESB group invested in the electricity distribution, transmission in networks upgrades, extensions, operations, and routine maintenance in the period 1999 to 2018; the amount it paid as dividend to the Exchequer; the amount borrowed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28320/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

While day to day financial matters relating to the ESB Group, including the amounts invested in electricity distribution and transmission, networks upgrades, extensions, operations or routine maintenance, are primarily a matter for the Board and management of ESB, I have requested ESB to revert to the Deputy directly with the historical information sought, where available. The most up-to-date financial information is contained in ESB Annual Report and Accounts 2018 which is available on the ESB website.

With regards to dividends paid, the ESB Group paid a dividend of some €35m for the financial year ended 31 December 2018, of which some €33.4 was paid to the Exchequer and the remainder to the Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP).

National Development Plan

Ceisteanna (288)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

288. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the intended spending on each renewable energy source of the €13.7 billion that is to be attracted from private sources as part of the National Development Plan. [28321/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Project Ireland 2040 sets out investments to provide for population growth in a compact, connected and sustainable way. It will deliver important infrastructures and contribute to meeting our climate ambitions as set out in the recently launched Climate Action Plan. Exchequer funding of €7.6 billion, together with investment of €13.7 billion by commercial State bodies will ensure a step change in strategic climate change investments in the areas of transport, agriculture, energy and the built environment over the next decade.

As part of the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient society, €14.2 Billion has been allocated under the National Development Plan 2018 - 2027. Of this, €500 million has been allocated to the Climate Action Fund. In excess of €13 Billion will come from Commercial State owned enterprises under my Department's aegis and will also play a crucial role in climate action initiatives.

Major investment projects by inter alia, ESB, EirGrid, and Bord na Mona will include the following areas:

Enhanced electricity interconnection, including the Celtic Interconnector to France and further interconnection to the UK,

Conversion of Moneypoint electricity generation plant to end the burning of coal by 2025.

Expansion of refuelling network for alternately fuelled vehicles to address freight emissions,

Conversion of peat power plants to more sustainable low-carbon technologies by 2030,

Roll-out of the National Smart Energy Metering programme to commence in 2019,

Development of gas infrastructure projects to support regional and rural development and the low-carbon transition, and

On-going reinforcement of the existing power grid.

Waste Management

Ceisteanna (289)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

289. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will report on the launch of a new labelling system for waste recycling; the reason the labels he introduced are being used only on a voluntary basis by producers and retailers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28339/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I launched a new labelling system, unique to Ireland, on 21 June 2019 to help make it easier for people to recycle. Proper segregation of waste is crucial. It minimises the amount of waste ending up in landfill and helps us use our resources more effectively. The three new labels are voluntary for use by producers, manufacturers and retailers. The labels clearly identify whether an item is widely recycled, whether it is not recyclable, and whether more information should be sought before deciding how to dispose of it. This is just one of a number of initiatives to help people to recycle, including the development of a single nationwide list of recyclable materials which may be placed in the household recycling bin, and the launch of the website mywaste.ie to advise householders on all aspects of how to prevent and manage their waste. These new labels, which have been developed in partnership with the Regional Waste Management Planning Offices, will clearly show when to recycle or dispose of an item and I encourage all retailers, manufacturers and producers to take up this useful initiative.

Major retailers have expressed interest in the new labelling system, and it is being rolled out free of charge to producers, manufacturers and retailers. More information about the labels and how to apply is available on mywaste.ie.

Subscription to the scheme has been kept as voluntary because the European Commission has warned of the risk of market fragmentation when Member States take measures in an uncoordinated manner, which differ in scope, focus and ambition level. This can lead to a variety of restrictions of market access among Member States, barriers to the free movement of goods and to the level playing field between producers in different countries.

Construction Regulations

Ceisteanna (290)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

290. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has responded to requests by an organisation (details supplied) that crushed concrete should be reused as an aggregate on existing projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28340/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Article 28 of the European Communities (Waste Directive) Regulations, S.I. No. 126 of 2011, sets out the grounds by which a material which is recovered or recycled from waste, such as crushed concrete, can be deemed to be no longer a waste. As the designated competent authority, decisions regarding applications for end-of-waste status are the responsibility of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In June 2018, my Department established a Construction Waste Resource Group comprising key Construction and Demolition sector and Waste sector stakeholders, including policy, regulatory and industry representatives to provide a valuable platform to discuss and monitor construction and demolition (C&D) waste issues arising, including the capacity of the sector to manage C&D waste.

The issue of end-of-waste status for certain materials, including crushed concrete, has been discussed at each of the three meetings of this Resource Group, including the most recent meeting which took place on 19th June 2019. My officials, in conjunction with representatives of the EPA, have reminded those present that end-of-waste decisions can only be made once industry has submitted comprehensive applications to the EPA and satisfied the EPA that a decision to grant end-of waste status is appropriate.

Renewable Energy Generation Targets

Ceisteanna (291)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

291. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on a matter regarding the national broadband plan (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28347/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I recently launched the Climate Action Plan which includes a suite of actions to decarbonise the electricity sector and boost the quantity of renewable generation in order to meet our target of 70% of demand from renewable sources by 2030. In order to deliver on the ambition set out in the Climate Plan, my Department is developing the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS). The RESS will be characterised by a series of renewable electricity auctions, aligned with the ambition set out in the Climate Action Plan and the final National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).

The RESS is now in the detailed design and implementation phase and my Department is progressing the RESS project across a number of key work streams including the EU State Aid approval process; the development of an Enabling Framework for Community Participation; and the design of the first RESS auctions. A working group and steering group have been established with the Commission for Regulation of Utilities and EirGrid to oversee the implementation of the RESS auctions and harness existing expertise in this area. It is expected that the first RESS auction will open for applications by the end of 2019. Engagement with relevant stakeholders including the European Commission’s Directorate-General (DG) for Competition, will continue in the coming months but the formal opening of the Scheme will be subject to state aid approval.

As set out in the Climate Action Plan, it is my intention that corporate contracting of renewable energy sources (via Corporate Power Purchase Agreements or CPPAs) will provide 15% of the required generation to meet Ireland's 2030 renewable electricity target.

CPPAs have potential to provide a route to market for renewable project developers in the shorter term, boosting Ireland's renewable energy capacity in advance of the formal commencement of RESS. The Plan includes a suite of actions to develop effective policy tools that can kick start corporate PPAs in Ireland and deliver on our RES-E targets at no extra cost to the public.

Renewable Energy Generation

Ceisteanna (292)

John Curran

Ceist:

292. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a gap of one year of renewable energy generation will potentially be lost if RESS is delayed further; the steps he is taking to ensure that there are no further delays with same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28359/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I recently launched the Climate Action Plan which includes a suite of actions to decarbonise the electricity sector and boost the quantity of renewable generation in order to meet our target of 70% of demand from renewable sources by 2030. In order to deliver on the ambition set out in the Climate Plan, my Department is developing the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS). The RESS will be characterised by a series of renewable electricity auctions, aligned with the ambition set out in the Climate Action Plan and the final National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP). The RESS is now in the detailed design and implementation phase and my Department is progressing the RESS project across a number of key work streams including the EU State Aid approval process; the development of an Enabling Framework for Community Participation; and the design of the first RESS auctions. A working group and steering group have been established with the Commission for Regulation of Utilities and EirGrid to oversee the implementation of the RESS auctions and harness existing expertise in this area. It is expected that the first RESS auction will open for applications by the end of 2019. Engagement with relevant stakeholders including the European Commission’s Directorate-General (DG) for Competition, will continue in the coming months but the formal opening of the Scheme will be subject to state aid approval.

As set out in the Climate Action Plan, it is my intention that corporate contracting of renewable energy sources (via Corporate Power Purchase Agreements or CPPAs) will provide 15% of the required generation to meet Ireland's 2030 renewable electricity target. CPPAs have potential to provide a route to market for renewable project developers in the shorter term, boosting Ireland's renewable energy capacity in advance of the formal commencement of RESS. The Plan includes a suite of actions to develop effective policy tools that can kick start corporate PPAs in Ireland and deliver on our RES-E targets at no extra cost to the public.

Climate Change Policy

Ceisteanna (293, 294, 295)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

293. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the projected rate of return on climate action fund investment projects both individually and an average; and if the investments made in seven relevant projects are intended to be long-term or short-term investments. [28412/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

294. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the €300 million in private financing leveraged by investments from the climate action fund includes the €77 million invested by the fund. [28413/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

295. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the projected resources in the climate action fund in each year out to 2030; and the sources of revenue that will contribute to that fund in each year in tabular form. [28414/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 293 to 295, inclusive, together.

The Government has established the Climate Action Fund with the objective of funding initiatives that contribute to the achievement of Ireland’s climate and energy targets in a cost effective manner. It may also support innovative interventions in these sectors.

In November 2018, I announced seven successful projects from the first Call for Applications under the Climate Action Fund. Up to €77m in grant aid will be provided to these projects leveraging a total investment, including grant aid, of €300m. Effectively the Fund is leveraging €3 for every €1 it provides.

As the support provided to these projects is in the form of grant aid, as opposed to a financial investment that will be repaid, these is no associated rate of return for the Climate Action Fund.

The Climate Action Fund will provide €500 million support to projects over the period of the National Development Plan. The sources of funding include the use of unspent monies in the Energy Efficiency Fund and the excess of receipts over costs from the existing petroleum products levy (commonly called the National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA) levy).

There is a total of €15 million funding from the Energy Efficiency Fund which is available for use from 2019. The annual contributions to the fund from the NORA levy are projected to be circa €60 million on average per annum from 2020. The exact level of funding in each year has yet to be determined. Legislative proposals are currently being designed for the repurposing of the NORA levy to include meeting NORA’s expenses, and to provide future financing to the Climate Action Fund.

Waste Disposal

Ceisteanna (296)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

296. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the action he plans to take to reduce the amount of plastic and other packaging waste that consumers are forced to take with them in supermarkets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28438/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I am determined to introduce reforms in order to promote reduction, reuse, recycling and optimal final disposal options, in line with the principles of the “circular economy”, which seeks to promote the sustainable use of the resources of our planet. In particular I see opportunities for industry and consumers to respond and make positive changes to how we use plastic and other packaging.

Ireland’s Climate Action Plan 2019 has ten dedicated actions which focus on waste and the Circular Economy. Our focus will be on designing out waste, prioritising prevention of waste at every opportunity through eco-design, reuse and repair, market restriction and levies.

Ireland is working closely with other Member States in the European Union. We are working on the development of policy instruments which shall include:

- Regulatory changes;

- Market incentives;

- Promotion, labelling and the provision of information on sustainable practices;

- Developmental work with the sector to improve our capacity to deliver our goals.

Included in the regulatory changes will be the amended Waste Framework Directive which promotes the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) model and aims to make it more effective through minimum common requirements.

As part of the Climate Action Plan, we will identify opportunities to strengthen the regulatory and enforcement frameworks and structures for the waste collection and management system, to maximise the collection of clean, segregated materials for reuse and/or recycling from all households and businesses, and to incentivise consumers to reduce, reuse and recycle.

The Climate Action Plan also commits to regulating and incentivising producers of waste, particularly packaging, to ensure the prevention of waste and the use of recycled materials in packaging product. The Plan states that the following steps will be necessary to deliver this action:

- Q3 2019: Pilot eco-modulation fees for packaging

- Q2 2020: New Packaging Waste Directive transposition

- Q1 2021: Implementation of full eco-modulated fees for packaging

A core opportunity for improving EPR measures is to develop economic incentives which favour circular products and business models.

Ahead of this, Repak members are taking steps to prevent and minimise the amount of packaging they require. With the assistance of the EPA, Repak’s Prevent and Save initiative has worked with Irish business to reduce packaging and to promote packaging improvements across industry. Under the initiative, specialist packaging technologists look for ways to optimise the packaging used and to minimise any resulting packaging waste. Further information can be found on www.repak.ie/preventandsave. However, it should also be noted that packaging is used by producers and retailers to protect and preserve goods and can help in preventing food and other product waste.

Under current Packaging Regulations, at least 60% of packaging waste must be recovered and 55% must be recycled. Repak is the approved producer responsibility compliance scheme for packaging in Ireland and it is tasked with meeting recovery and recycling targets established under the EU Packaging Directive. Repak recently confirmed that their members achieved an overall recycling rate of 68% for all materials and is ahead of the EU targets by 13%. Ireland’s official statistics are compiled by the EPA and will be published shortly. It is anticipated they will show that Ireland has continued to meet and exceeded the overall packaging waste recovery rate and the recycling rate targets since they came into force. The task ahead of Ireland now is to meet the increased targets that will come into force under the CELP.

Postal Services

Ceisteanna (297, 298, 299, 300, 301)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

297. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when he received the report from An Post on the closure of the mail centre in County Cork; the analysis undertaken in his Department regarding the decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28516/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

298. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when the report recommending the closure of the mail centre in County Cork will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28517/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

299. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when he and his officials were informed regarding the closure of the mail centre in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28519/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

300. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he was informed of the deployment options for the staff in relation to the closure of the mail centre in County Cork; the location of the options; the likely uptake of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28520/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

301. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has been requested to meet a union (details supplied) in relation to the closure of the mail centre in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28521/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 297 to 301, inclusive, together.

An Post is a commercial State company with its own Board and has a mandate to deliver a viable postal delivery service and post office network. The management and operation of the company is an operational matter for the Board and management of An Post.

In recommending a 2% pay increase from 1 July 2017 in An Post, the Labour Court also recommended that a number of efficiency measures be implemented in order to fund 50% of the cost of the pay increase. One of those measures related to the conclusion of discussions in relation to An Post’s proposal to reduce the size of its mail processing network. The Recommendation provides that 50% of the savings arising from the closure of a Mails Processing Centre will contribute towards the Union’s cost of the pay award.

An Post has advised that there was no specific report in relation to the closure of the Cork Mail Centre although there were reports from a number of sources, including international consultants, which helped An Post make a decision on the matter.

My Department was informed of the decision to close Cork Mail Centre on Tuesday, 25 June 2019.

An Post has given a commitment that all staff will be offered strong exit packages, redeployment opportunities within An Post’s delivery and Post Office networks in the Cork area (currently employing nearly 1000 people), further education grants and support in securing jobs with new employers. In addition, all relevant State supports will be made available to the workers impacted by the closure of the Mail Centre.

I have not received a request to meet the union in question and it is a matter for the company and the union directly. I understand that An Post has, and is continuing to, engage with the union to ensure the best possible outcome for affected staff.