first_imgDeputy Joe McHugh, TD, has assured the Donegal public he is working closely both with local representatives in the postal service, and also relevant groups and members of the public who are concerned about the potential impact of changes to the postal service.Joe McHugh TD“Last week I met with a group of Postmasters from Fanad, Milford and Dunfanaghy , a group from Bunbeg in Dublin, and a group in the Inishowen Peninsula. I worked closely with the Greencastle Community in successfully retaining a twelve month extension to the postal service in the area. And as recently as last night, I attended a public meeting in Carrigart addressing concerns regarding the retention of Carrigart and Downings post offices.“The Government is committed to a strong and viable An Post and supports its maintenance of the maximum number of economically viable post offices, ensuring that Irish customers, both business and residential, enjoy competitively high quality postal services. Having invested in the computerisation of all post offices, the post office network is well positioned to become the front office provider of choice for Government and financial services sector. Any such developments are subject to public procurement requirements as appropriate. An Post has many strengths and has the largest retail presence in the country and need to further exploit its unique position in this regard. “There are real and genuine concerns regarding the future of Post Offices and the services they provide in both rural and urban areas. I have been engaging with An Post directly to identify the challenges they are facing and with the goal of achieving the best outcome for all those who rely on the services they provide.“The focus of development needs to be transparency. Instead of allowing the issue to continue gathering momentum and speculation or confusion taking a front seat, it is the responsibility of the Government, An Post and the Postmasters to realise a long term plan with a clear strategy around the future of the postal service in this country. In 2016, the Social Welfare contract, which is currently held with An Post, will be up for renewal and this will provide An Post the opportunity to review and agree it’s proposals with the Government on how it intends to roll out this contract in the future.“While I have been working closely with all elements of An Post, it is clear that overall mail volumes, not just in Ireland but across Europe, are in decline. The need for new initiatives are imperative to the ongoing commercial viability of An Post. The Postmaster Union and An Post are two entities which need to come together to find an agreement that will ultimately secure the long-term success of both organisations.“There are a number of possible opportunities available in achieving this goal which have been and continue to be reviewed. AIB have a partnership with An Post so customers of AIB who can’t make it to an AIB branch, can carry out many of their daily AIB banking transactions at their local post office, even on a Saturday morning. These include both personal and business banking transactions. Bank of Ireland, in 2012, extended their partnership with the UK Post Office, offering BOI customers a comprehensive range of financial services products, including savings accounts, mortgages, motor, home and life insurance and credit cards. If this arrangement is viable in the UK, then it suggests that a similar partnership may be an option in Ireland between banks and An Post. “We have to be realistic about the changing requirements and needs of consumers and customers and I welcome the ongoing debate around how we address these changes and adapt. There is a vote next week regarding a motion. This will not impact how our post offices and An Post is operated. The job over the next two years is to accurately assess the situation, with a focus on the social welfare contract due to be reviewed in 2016.“It is essential that our postal services retain their national network and continue providing an essential service that connects the whole country. Now is the moment to engage all relevant groups and to allow them to outline their viewpoints so we can arrive at a sustainable solution that will not only address the current challenges but also lay the foundations for a strengthened service which will be capable of adapting to our future needs.” McHUGH CALLS FOR ENGAGEMENT AND RENEWED PARTNERSHIP WITH POSTAL SERVICES was last modified: February 20th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:An PostJoe McHughlast_img

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