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An Post Will Move To Thurles Shopping Centre.

Current View of the New Site Sanctioned by An Post in Thurles Shopping Centre.

Please see herewith attached, recent correspondence sent to Independent Tipperary TD Deputy Mr Michael Lowry.

Same was forwarded from the office of Mr Richard Bruton TD, (Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment), via his Parliamentary Assistant Ms Jenny McCormack, and refers to the controversial move by An Post from Liberty Square, Thurles to a new location in Thurles Shopping Centre, sanctioned by An Post and expected to take place in the month of May of this year.

The correspondence reads:

Re: Thurles Post Office

Dear Sir,

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Minister Bruton has responsibility for the postal sector, including the governance of An Post. However it is important to remember that An Post is a commercial State body with its own board. Decisions relating to the post office network are an operational matter for An Post directly.

The environment in which the post office operates is changing and the network needs to change to thrive, particularly with the move to digital transactions. These changes are impacting on the revenue being generated by the network as a whole. In the face of serious declines in the volume of mail and post office business; An Post faced growing losses and has had to undertake a major restructuring of its business to continue to be able to provide its services.

There is widespread acceptance that the post office network requires modernisation to build, maintain and protect a service that meets the needs of communities across the country. An Post’s renewed vision for the post office network centres on the availability of new services in a modernised, revitalised network.

In this context, An Post has confirmed its move to a new flagship post office in the Thurles Shopping Centre and the closure of its Liberty Square premises. The move comes as part of An Post’s effort to transform the post office network and to invest in improved facilities for customers in high footfall locations. Thurles will become one of the first towns in the country to host the new post office design, which is intended to improve the service offered for post office users and attract a new generation of customers.

It’s important to acknowledge that the move has understandably caused upset in Thurles as the post office has been in situ in Liberty Square for many years and is part of the fabric of the Square. However, delivery of An Post’s ambitious plans for the post office network requires renewal of the physical infrastructure of the network and the move is part of this process. Minister Bruton understands that the CEO of An Post and company officials have met with Deputies and local representatives in recent weeks to hear the perspective of the local community and discuss the issues raised around the re-location of the post office from Liberty Square to Thurles Shopping Centre.

An Post has advised that the new office will be in line with the company’s transformation programme offering a new look retail offering for customers including a move away from old style post office counter layout. This is driven by An Post’s move to offer new services and products to customers including financial services and integrating its growing eCommerce business. The new layout will include dedicated customer areas, parcel lockers and self-service options.

An Post has also indicated that any plan to revamp the current Liberty Square premises would be hampered by the condition of the three storey listed property, the lack of available development space, and the prohibitive cost of overcoming any of these obstacles. Furthermore, that the building had also been the subject of repeated complaints around accessibility and excessive queuing caused by the lack of space in the office.

Given the challenges it is facing, the company needs to pursue an ambitious agenda across its various business areas and there is likely to be significant change and new business models implemented in the coming years.

Key to the survival of the network is the willingness of the public to use the service the post office provides. Investment of €50 million in the network by An Post is based on getting communities to use the enhanced services that their local post office will provide through a modernised network.

The company is continuing to make good progress in implementing its strategic plan, which will see a range of developments across the mails and retail businesses. A refreshed and modernised An Post brand has been launched in recent weeks, alongside a new financial services proposition, An Post Money, and a new business-to-business brand, An Post Commerce.

It is Government policy that An Post remains a strong, viable company in a position to provide a high quality, nationwide postal service and that it maintains a nationwide customer focused network of post office in the community. Government remains fully committed to a sustainable post office network which is a key piece of economic and social infrastructure for both rural and urban areas.

Kind regards,

Jenny


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