The Irish Postmasters’ Union has today welcomed an invitation from Minister Pat Rabbitte to hold talks on the future of the Post Office network.
IPU General Secretary, Brian McGann described the invitation as helpful in terms of recognising the genuine concern of Postmasters over the future of the Post Office network.
“The Minister’s announcement that the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy will look at how the Government commitment to maintain the network of Post Offices can be met is very welcome”, said Mr McGann.
“However, Postmasters need to see clear action with timelines and outcomes to be assured that their concerns are being heard and that their future can be secured”, he stated.
Mr McGann’s comments came following a meeting between the IPU and members of the Labour Parliamentary party in Leinster House last night. Mr McGann described the meeting as very useful in terms of ensuring clarity of view from the perspective of the Union and the Labour Party.
Referring to a recent IPU meeting with Fine Gael, Mr McGann expressed his regret that the meeting appeared subsequently to have been used to attack the Labour Party and to portray members of that party as being unsupportive. “We do not wish to see the future of the Post Office network become a political football in the run up to the local and European elections,” Mr McGann said.
“Indeed, our experience to date has been that both Minister Rabbitte and Minster Burton have been hugely helpful to the Union in helping to deal with the many issues facing the network”.
Mr McGann thanked the many backbenchers who attended the meeting for taking the time to do so and he acknowledged the support of key people such as Deputy Willie Penrose and others who have worked behind the scenes to assist Postmasters.
Mr McGann stated that he looked forward to continuing his good working relationship with Minister Rabbitte and other members of Government but he stressed the urgent need to see progress in key areas that are of vital importance to the future of the network. “Full banking services at all Post Offices and new business are critical to the survival of the Post Office,” he said.
Mr McGann told members of the Labour Parliamentary Party that the An Post / Tesco initiative was a matter of grave concern to Postmasters and he told the meeting that the Union will be taking a robust approach with An Post on this issue.
Mr McGann called on An Post to pull back from pressing ahead with the plan and to engage meaningfully with the IPU on the strategic development needs for the network.
The meeting was attended by the IPU General Secretary, President, Vice President and Executive Committee members.
Thanking Senators Denis Landy and John Whelan for inviting the Union to meet with party members, IPU President Ciaran McEntee said that he looked forward to closer contact between the Union and the Labour Party in the future.
“We all want the same thing, and that is to see a vibrant sustainable Post Office network for the future”, Mr McEntee stated.
March 6th 2014