Time to safeguard our Post Offices
Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon-Galway Eugene Murphy is urging people to ‘get offline’ and take the time to post a card or letter to a loved one this Christmas season as part of an initiative to safeguard the post office network. Deputy Murphy hosted a presentation in Leinster House today (Tuesday) on the plight of the rural post office network which is in danger of collapsing with the threat of closure now hanging over almost 600 post offices throughout the country.
A number of post masters and postmistresses from the Roscommon/Galway constituency travelled to Leinster House to take part in the presentation which is urging Government action in a bid to salvage the post office network.
“I am urging people to get offline and take the time to actually physically write and post a card or letter this Christmas season and to make a visit to their local post office. People need to re-engage with their local post office because unfortunately it’s a case of use it or lose it! This is the ideal time of year to encourage children in particular to write a letter or card to a loved one – if schools got involved and every child throughout the country took the time to write a letter or card, visit their local post office and buy a stamp that would be a great boost to the network and a major vote of confidence in this vital service,” said Deputy Murphy.
“The art of letter writing is dying and we are all guilty of text speech and the over use of abbreviations so if people moved away from the digital sphere and took the time to write and post a letter it could make someone’s Christmas with a more personal touch. For many older people particularly those in rural areas, isolation and loneliness can be a major factor during the festive season and it could really brighten someone’s day to receive a handwritten card or letter,” he explained.
Speaking in the Dáil recently during Questions to the Taoiseach, the Fianna Fáil Deputy expressed concern about the possible closure of post offices across the country, and the impact that these closures would have on elderly and disabled people.
“The recent news that two thirds of the 1,131 post offices are ‘economically unviable’ is very bleak. The post offices have been given no support to offer new services or re-invent themselves in the face of changing times. It has long been known that the services offered by the post offices need to be broader and take into consideration the changing needs of the people who use the post office, however the Government have done nothing to help preserve and support the rural post office. There have been many attempts to take more business away from them instead of helping build a different service that provides more banking like solutions.
“Minister Heather Humphreys and the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs need to take full responsibility for this urgent situation and develop a plan to save our post offices. A recent Grant Thornton report predicted that unless fundamental reforms are introduced between 450 and 500 branches could be lost by next year. These job losses, along with the inconvenience caused to older people, many of whom rely on their local post office to collect their pension, must act as a wake-up call for the Government. We cannot sit back and let these threatened closures happen,” concluded Deputy Murphy.
Deputy Eugene Murphy pictured with his Fianna Fáil party colleagues Mattie McGrath and Robert Troy with Meave Galvin from Rathcroghan, County Roscommon and Ned O’ Hara, Secretary of the Irish Post Masters’ Union and John Tansey from Cootehall, Boyle Regional Officer with the Communications Workers’ Union as part of a campaign urging people to take the time to post a card or letter to a loved one this Christmas season in a bid to safeguard the post office network. Pic: Kenneth O’ Halloran