Funding package a ‘game changer’ for Cork’s struggling post office network


THE announcement of a multi-million Euro funding package announced by the Government has been hailed as a game changer for Cork’s rural post office network.

nder the bailout package, the first time in the history of the State that a Government has provided direct financial support for postmasters, €30 million has been allocated over the next three years to support the country’s ailing rural post office network.

In Cork alone the future of a number of rural post offices have been called into question over recent months, following a warning from the Irish Postmaster Union (IPU) that as many as 200 branches across the country could be lost unless there was some form of State intervention.

The funding package announced will see €10 million allocated annually over the next three years to be distributed among postmasters in need of financial assistance to ensure their doors remain open.

Welcoming the funding, North Cork county councillor John Paul O’Shea (FG) said it was a recognition of the important role that rural post offices play in their respective communities.

“This funding package will be a game changer. We recognise the importance of a high-value and high-quality post office network to citizens right across the country, as well as the central and trusted role of postmasters within our communities,” said Cllr O’Shea.

He said a report from an inter-governmental group is examining the possibility of providing additional facilities through the An Post/post office network, including community banking and a range of e-commence services, is due to be published in the near future.

“This new funding initiative will give postmasters certainty and stability, help safeguard the future of more vulnerable post offices within our communities and allow for plans to develop the range of services they can offer to the public,” said Cllr O’Shea.

“It is so important that people have access to the quality services offered by the Post Office network. This funding will help to ensure that access for everyone, wherever they live in Cork County,” he added.

The new rescue funding package has been welcomed by Irish Postmasters Union president Seán Martin, who said it was a recognition of the social value of post offices.

“The post office is the lifeblood of our towns and villages and a much-trusted focal point of our communities. Our role in supporting communities was never more evident than during the recent pandemic when we were one of the few government services to remain open throughout,” said Mr Martin.

He said the union has always been willing to work with new services and has demonstrated its flexibility “time and time again” in responding to new challenges.

“We believe the network can be leveraged to greatly benefit both the citizen and Government, strengthening our shared civic and social connectivity, and developing the Network will also have a positive multiplier effect for all other local businesses,” said Mr Martin.

“I want to thank the Government for making this funding available in order to protect and strengthen this vital infrastructure for the public’s benefit,” he added.

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