REFORM, not fond memories, is what’s needed to rescue our rural Post Offices.
That’s according to Cork South West Deputy Jim Daly who was speaking after the announcment of post office closures around the country, including West Cork.
The Minister said: ‘The post office has not changed, but we as customers have, we are the ones who are not using the services like we used to and that is why they are under pressure to survive. We should see where post offices can fill the gap in the market of renewing rural communities. The task of government is to encourage post offices to develop because preservation will not, in the long run, save our post offices. There are a myriad gaps they can fill.’
He suggested they could make available credit with public banking-style provision of credit for local and farm enterprise, or develop their role in the ongoing provision of State payments and services, including motor tax.
Post offices could be used to access peace commissioners, office services, ICT training and evolve into training and service provision centres for small enterprises, he added.
‘More imaginatively, the post offices can evolve to become coffee shops where there are none in the area, a tourism provider and as advance units for broadband hotdesks. We need action, though, and no more pilots.
‘Fine Gael will provide what is needed to work with An Post to reimagine what services are actually needed by customers, and not react to populist calls by others to keep services that are not thought through and that nobody uses.’