Fianna Fáil’s Wicklow TD, Stephen Donnelly TD has said there is an obvious solution that would save Donard and Coolboy Post Offices but the Government needs to put it into practice to have any effect.
“Fianna Fáil has supported an amendment to the new Post Offices bill that would see rural branches effectively subsidised,” said Donnelly.
“The amendment received cross-party support when it was passed in the Dáil last month. But we’re still waiting for the Government to actually do anything about it. It needs to listen to what we’ve suggested and urgently revise plans to close more than 150 Post Offices close around the country, mostly in areas with very few alternative facilities.
“What we’d like to see is the introduction of Public Service Obligation Payments for rural Post Offices. PSOs would work in much the same way as the subsidies which are used for buses and broadband in areas that aren’t profitable for operators.
“We need to remember that the local Post Office is more than just a place to do business. Its value is more than just monetary. Properly run it’s a lifeline for anyone living alone or lonely. It’s a friendly face and a chat. It’s a place to get a pint of milk and a pack of stamps and crucially keep in touch with the local community at the same time.
“In our modern world where people are becoming more and more isolated living in an online reality, I’m deeply worried we may lose this human resource if the Government doesn’t act fast. When I joined protesters outside Leinster House this week they made me more determined than ever to fight for their cause. Anyone who wants to keep the heart of rural Ireland beating needs to help us keep our Post Offices,” concluded Donnelly.