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200-300 Further Post Offices In Danger Of Closure

The Fine Gael general election hopeful for Tipperary, Mrs Mary Newman Julian, who with others, has cast serious doubts over the An Post’s agreement with Thurles Shopping Centre, may now wish to “hold her whisht a minute”, regarding this same semi-state body.

The Irish Postmasters Union, speaking ahead of their annual conference in Portlaoise yesterday, warned that between 200 and 300 currently operating post offices could be forced to close over the next 18 months, unless they are granted access to named government services, by our current Fine Gael led government.

The Irish Postmasters Union state that while An Post have introduced a range of new services like credit cards and loans etc., a deal agreed with the present Fine Gael led government last year, to provide for the introduction of services, (e.g. car tax, drivers’ licenses and Leap cards etc); same, though agreed, has not as yet materialised and no progress to date has been made. IPU General Secretary Mr Ned O’Hara now believes this same issue could further lead to hundreds of post offices having to shut up shop.

An Post further has advised that their newly acquired Thurles office in Thurles Shopping Centre, will be in line with the company’s transformation programme, offering a new look retail offering for customers including a move away from the old-style post office counter layout; the inclusion of dedicated customer areas, parcel lockers and self-service options.

While, recently 800 to 1,000 local people and business owners took to the streets of Thurles to protest against this office move by An Post; yesterday’s news from the Irish Postmasters Union does not bode well for the longer-term future of Irish post offices in rural Ireland.

This threatened situation, is further adding to the fact that jobless figures appearing on the Live Register for Tipperary, during April 2019, shows increased unemployment on the previous month’s returns, March 2019, across 7 of the 8 Social Welfare offices. Employees earning salaries in the €25 to €30 thousand range; commuting to work from Tipperary; same unable to afford even basic accommodation in Dublin, are now fed up of paying the demanded 20 Euro toll charges; not to mention the 100 Euro per week in fuel costs; not to mention vehicle costs etc., all necessary to maintain and hold down a job, if you reside in rural Ireland.

It appears that under our present Fine Gael led government; here in rural Ireland, gone are the days when, “A part of everything you earn is yours to keep”.

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