first_imgThe Government must wake up to the threat to Post Offices in Co. Donegal, the Annual Conference of the Irish Postmasters’ Union was told by Donegal Postmaster Breid Gallagher at the weekend.Ms. Gallagher, who is a Postmaster in Dunfanaghy, told the delegates to the conference in Fitzpatrick’s Hotel, Killiney, Co. Dublin, that the future of hundreds of Post Offices nationally, and a number in Co. Donegal, were in the balance due to the fact that the social welfare payments contract is being internationally tendered.“We understand that there is a very good chance that in the short term An Post will retain the contract but a secondtender is to be issued in June that could result in a major transfer of thesocial welfare payment system to an electronic form,” she said. “We are not against new technology or progress but the public are entitled to access their money in the way that best suits their needs. We do not yet know the full terms of the new tender but we are very concerned that it will force the successful tenderer to rush headlong down the e-commerce route.“The Government should be very wary of the consequences, not just for an estimated 400 Post Offices that would close immediately if An Post were to lose the contract, but also for Irish society. It would be catastrophic.”Ms. Gallagher told the delegates that the public were being forced more and more into using Banks that don’t want to see customers, are forever increasing or introducing new charges and in whom the public have little trust.“As we saw last year people can also go weeks without having access to the cash in their bank account,” she said. “Another issue we have with Government is their failure to utilise the outstanding network of 1,100 Post Offices throughout the country to provide additional services to communities,” said Ms. Gallagher “We commissioned the accountancy firm Grant Thornton to validate our figures and they established that by allowing the public to renew their Motor Tax in Post Offices it would save the taxpayer €60m.“We have received much support from politicians from all sides, including Ministers, for our campaign to drive more business through the Post Office but no action. This is despite the savings available, as in the case of Motor Tax. It just doesn’t make sense.“We also believe there is a real opportunity to develop a system of electronic form generation where forms can be printed as required at Post Offices for a small fee, forms can be updated on request, and these services would save the Government money. Hospital charges could also be paid through our network.“I would call on Government Ministers such as Pat Rabbitte, Brendan Howlin and Phil Hogan, to take action on these andother items. They have been advised by their own Oireachtas members of the Joint Committee on Communications and Transport in a recent report that the Post Office network is vital for communities throughout the country. They know what is required and they say they are in favour. It is time for action.“The Post Office network is one of the few pieces of social infrastructure that is still playing a hugely significant part in the communities in which they are based. It is universally agreed that they should continue to continue to do so. The methods by which their future can be sustained are available to the decision makers. Let them act now before it is too late,” she said. DONEGAL POST OFFICES FACE CLOSURE UNDER THIS GOVERNMENT, UNION TOLD was last modified: May 5th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:DONEGAL POST OFFICES FACE CLOSURE UNDER THIS GOVERNMENTUNION TOLDlast_img

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