31/03/17

Minister Ring publishes the report of the Post Office Hub Working Group

The Minister for Regional Economic Development, Michael Ring T.D., today (30th March 2017) published the Report of the Post Office Hub Working Group which the Minister submitted to the Government this week for noting.

 

The Post Office Hub Working Group was established in July 2016 to examine the potential for post offices to act as hubs in the community, around which local social and economic activity might revolve.  The Working Group was chaired by Minister Ring and included representatives from the Irish Postmasters Union (IPU), An Post, the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs, and Irish Rural Link. There was also a community representative on the Working Group.

 

The Working Group examined a number of aspects of the “hub” concept, and identified three options which might have the potential to benefit communities and help to re-energise the Post Office Network.  These are:

 

  • Shared Value and Co-Location Post Offices
  • Co-Operative Post Offices
  • Mobile Post Offices

 

Of these options, the Shared Value Post Office model was considered to have the most potential for application in the short-term.

 

The Working Group’s report recommends that this model be tested through the establishment of pilots in four locations, with a view to rolling the model out to up to 150 locations if proven to be successful in the pilot phase.

 

Commenting on the publication of the report, Minister Ring said:

 

”I would like to acknowledge the involvement of all of the members of the Post Office Hub Working Group in examining possible models to support the Post Office network.  While there has been much media coverage of the current financial position of An Post, the Government has been clear that it wishes to see a strong network of Post Offices maintained throughout rural Ireland.  

 

The report of the Post Office Hub Working Group makes a contribution to identifying how this can be achieved and my Department is willing to make funding available to support the roll out of the pilot Shared Value Post Office model recommended in the report.”

 

Minister Ring continued:

 

“I have also been exploring how other services, such as motor tax renewal, might be extended to the Post Office network and I have also launched a consultation process on the concept of a community banking model which my officials have been examining over recent months.

 

The specific pieces of work on the Post Office Network which were assigned to me under the Programme for a Partnership Government have now been completed, or are substantially advanced.  The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, has overall policy responsibility for the postal services, but I will support Minister Naughten in whatever way I can to help ensure that the Post Office Network is maintained, particularly in rural Ireland. At the same time, the network’s survival ultimately depends on consumers making full use of the services which are available from the post offices and I would encourage people to avail of those services to support jobs in their local communities.” 

 

The report of the Post office Hub Working Group is available on the website of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs at:

po-hub-working-group-final-report

 

ENDS

 

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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