Galway TDs are calling on the government to provide greater support for post offices during this crisis to prevent even more branches from closing.
A Regional Group of TDs are calling on the government to develop new business for post offices by expanding the services they offer.
“The local post office is about much more than the post office itself. Post offices are a necessity for those living in regional Ireland.” Seán Canney said.
“Many local businesses are dependent on the collection of welfare payments and local spending. The challenges facing rural and regional Ireland and their post offices, needs an urgent response from Government.”
While post offices were already in crisis before the pandemic, transactions have fallen by an estimated further 25% since the onset of COVID-19 Canney said, threatening their viability.
“Supporting local post offices will also support communities and local businesses. During the early stages of the pandemic we saw the vital role post office staff played in our communities”.
Deputy Denis Naughten said that an post should also serve as an off-line option for the delivery of all state services, as many of an older generation cannot use online services.
“While we are hearing that we have to learn to live with Covid-19 there has been a failure to deliver alternative ways to engage with Government other than trying to force people to go online”.
“This does not work for everybody. For example, you cannot renew your motor tax online unless you have an email address and this condition will be expanded across all online payments when the EU Payments Services Directive 2 is implemented by the end of this year, which is in just 73 days’ time.
“Surely older people and those currently offline have enough to contend with as a result of Covid-19 and Brexit without being excluded from Government services because they don’t have an email or cannot use technology?”
There is a shortfall of €17 million in funding for the post office network, which will be one of the issued raised in a Private Members Motion before the Dáil at 10am on Wednesday.