Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Post Office Network
229. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the measures he will implement to support the post office network in view of the particular challenges facing that sector at present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30400/21]
230. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when the post office network will be enabled to provide additional Government services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30401/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 229 and 230 together.
Government is fully committed to a sustainable post office network as a key component of the economic and social infrastructure in both rural and urban areas.
Government continues to provide significant business to An Post through the Department of Social Protection’s Social Welfare contract and National Treasury Management Agency business. Government efforts have been focussed on supporting An Post in the roll out of new services and the delivery of its strategic plan.
An Post, has been growing its financial services as a key part of its business strategy, building on the significant savings business it has in partnership with the NTMA, its market-leading position in foreign exchange and existing current account, credit card and consumer lending customer base.
A Capital Expenditure programme was approved at Ministerial level which, as part of the Company’s commitment to the sustainability of its network, is designed to develop the newer elements of An Post’s Financial Services business and mitigate declining core mail volumes and revenues on the Retail side of the business. €30m in State funding was made available to the company, of which €15 million is to support the renewal of the post office network and a further €15 million towards the continued fulfilment of a five-day per week mail delivery service.
Government is committed to working with An Post and postmasters to ensure that the network continues to play a strong role in delivering State services. Government recently approved the Report on the Provision of Offline Government Services and the establishment of an Inter-Departmental Group, co-chaired by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, to, inter alia, examine the feasibility of directing more Government business to the post office network. The Group has already met three times and will report back to Government by the end of July.
All options will be considered fully to give effect to our commitment to ensuring a sustainable and viable post office network, while respecting the commercial mandate of An Post.