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Communications Regulation (Postal Services) (Amendment) Bill 2016\Second Stage
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Snippet Contents:

The post office is an essential service. It is a basic but vital service. The Bill may temporarily help to tackle the financial challenges of An Post, but it is not a long-term solution. We need a long-term solution to protect the post office network and ensure the reopening of post offices in rural towns that were unfairly closed, thereby depriving people of vital services. An example of this is the closure of the post office in Killeigh, County Offaly following the retirement of the postmaster. I am calling for the reopening of that post office because there is a demand for it. As in the case of many other villages and towns, there is a demand for this basic and vital service in Killeigh, which is a rural village with a growing population. I have raised this issue on numerous occasions with the Minister of State, Deputy Michael Ring, and representatives of An Post. I am calling again for real consideration to be given to this proposal, which will help to revitalise a rural town which, like many other towns, has a great deal of potential but has been abandoned by the Government and is being kept alive by community spirit.
I recognise that there are challenges facing An Post. We have all acknowledged this. We need to modernise and transform the role of the post office so that its becomes a hub for accessing public services within the community. An Post can be part of a joined up approach to financial services provision to support SMEs and the development of local economies. Post offices should be afforded the opportunity to sell insurance, process motor tax and link up with credit unions. There is need for a serious change in the Government's approach to the post office network and to rural Ireland. Rural Ireland exists. There is life beyond Newlands Cross. We need a pragmatic, long-term solution to protect and encourage the development of post offices in rural Ireland.