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'Increased transparency and flexibility' needed by An Post

The postal company has seen a 30 per cent fall in their core mail operations, its Chief Executive Officer told the Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture yesterday.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE Officer of An Post met with the Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture yesterday to discuss the decision making processes within the company on closing down post offices.

Donal Connell outlined the challenges facing the company, which he said included a 30 per cent fall in their core mail operations. He affirmed support for maintaining an extensive post office network across the country.

He added that, while sub-Post office closures tend to get a lot of attention, “significant issues threaten the financial viability of the An Post company as a whole”.

Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee Andrew Doyle TD said:

In its network of post offices, Committee Members acknowledged the practical and enriching role An Post has played in Irish life.  The increase in personal savings with An Post throughout the economic crisis is an indication of the levels of trust and goodwill that exists within the Irish public for the company.

Deputy Doyle said that the committee members take on board Connell’s contention that the Irish postal network is, per head of population, among the most extensive in the EU, and said they understand that some rationalisation is inevitable in the current economic climate.

But he added that members “expressed deep concern at the lack of communication by the company with the communities they serve in relation to the closure of rural post offices”.

Deputy Doyle said that a strong message from the meeting “was the imperative for increased transparency and flexibility on the part of the company”.

Where the future of a post office is in doubt, the Committee believes that business plans be invited to continue the service followed by a trial period of operation of about 12 months, before any definitive decision is made on viability.

An Post is to close the Knockmore post office, the Mayo News reported this week, adding that An Post says the office is not viable.

It was announced a year ago that 1,900 workers will leave An Post by 2015 through voluntary leaving and by agreement. The postal service lost almost €25m after tax in 2010 but turnover increased slightly to just over €805m.

Read: Almost 2,000 An Post workers will leave by 2015>

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