Postmasters fear the closure of hundreds of post offices and the withdrawal of services will cost billions of local economies.
hey warn that this will have a devastating impact in rural areas and local economies.
Over 7.6 billion euros of social assistance payments are made through post offices. However, An Post’s contract with the Social Protection Department to provide the service is awaiting renewal next year.
There are 952 post offices across the country. However, only a third of these are considered commercially viable. Another third is considered unsustainable and another 300 post offices are poised between feasible and unsustainable, according to the Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU).
He fears that between 300 and 400 post offices are at risk of closure.
The IPU called for the introduction of a public service obligation for the post office network, arguing that state support is needed to survive. He also called for the network to become a focal point for all state activities, such as applying for services, identity cards and issuing driving licenses. A post states that the network is well positioned to provide these services.
IPU Secretary General Ned O’Hara said that post offices that lose the social welfare payment contract would devastate small urban and rural economies.
“The multiplier effect of social assistance payments paid at post offices is crucial. Losing is a fatal blow for small local merchants because much of that money is often spent locally,” he said.
Others, such as the Public Banking Forum of Ireland, have called for the sector to be reformed by expanding services and adapting the post office model to incorporate non-profit community banking activities. Similar models have proven to be a hit in New Zealand and Germany.
Postal director Sean Fogarty, who has operated a post office in Ballymore Eustace, Co Kildare, for more than two decades, has been worried about his future due to the slowdown in his footsteps. His post office is incorporated into a small shop. Six months ago he built a bar and first tried other innovative methods to boost business. He knows that further changes are needed.
A crucial part of its business comes from the issue of social assistance payments. Mr. Fogarty said he should consider closing his post office if An Post loses his social security contract when he goes out to tender next year.
“If the rest of the shop and bar do more to support my business, I won’t have a post office that will cost me money to maintain it. I’ll have to weigh if we can afford to keep,” he said.