Collins posts a challenge to Limerick’s Government TDs

Post Office DemoLIMERICK Fianna Fáil Deputy Niall Collins has called on Government TDs from Limerick to explain why they voted against a Dáil motion which he believes would enhance and improve the role of Post Offices throughout the county.

He said that a Dáil motion, drawn up by the Postmasters Union of Ireland (PUI), was voted down by Limerick’s Labour and Fine Gael deputies last week. He has now called on the local Government TDs to explain to the people of Limerick why they are opposed to giving the post offices more financial duties.

“Instead of supporting the motion and sending out a clear message of solidarity with post offices and their users; the Government deputies opposed the sensible and progressive motion,” said Deputy Collins, who is his party’s spokesman on Justice.

“Post Offices in County Limerick are under serious threat, particularly if the network loses its contract to handle social welfare payments. Post Offices are the heartbeat of so many local communities in Limerick. It not only serves as a site for pension and welfare payments; the social benefit to these communities, particularly rural ones, is immeasurable,” he claimed.

Deputy Collins believes that Limerick post offices should become a centre for all State payments and charges. He insisted that the only way for the Post Office network to survive, locally and nationally, is by expanding the services it carries out.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

“While the contract with the Department of Social Protection for social welfare payments is secure for the next two years, beyond that the future is uncertain. Post Offices are part and parcel of almost every community in County Limerick. We need to have a comprehensive and extensive conversation on their future,” Deputy Collins declared.

In response, Fine Gael TD for Limerick, Patrick O’Donovan, said that Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte’s comments to the Dáil last week in relation to the future of the post office network “provides a route for the future development of the network”.

Deputy O’Donovan, who is a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, said he met with representatives of the Irish Postmasters Union who made a presentation on the future of the network, outlining the concerns of their members in the process.

“I was the only Limerick TD present at the meeting” he told the Limerick Post.

“During the course of the committee’s work, members were told that during the period of the last Government between 2006 and 2010, almost 200 post offices closed in Ireland while 17 had closed in the three years since this Government had come to office.

“The committee also discussed the fact that the Government had renewed the Department of Social Protection contracts to An Post for two years, a deal which will be worth almost €100 million to the network,” said Deputy O’Donovan.