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Communications Regulation (Postal Services) (Amendment) Bill 2016

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Communications Regulation (Postal Services) (Amendment) Bill 2016\Second Stage
Bills\Communications Regulation (Postal Services) (Amendment) Bill 2016\Second Stage

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Communications Regulation (Postal Services) (Amendment) Bill 2016

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David Cullinane

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Snippet Contents:

The Minister of State, Deputy Kyne, can take Sinn Féin's opposition to the Bill, in the first instance, as a vote of confidence in post offices and, in the second instance, as a vote of no confidence in the policies of the Government in terms of its failure, and that of previous Fianna Fáil Governments, in regard to post offices generally and, in particular, rural post offices and rural Ireland. Once again, rural issues come a distant second when it comes to policy and practice in this state.
The Bill is principally about a cap on postage charges. The Minister of State spoke about how, from his perspective, increasing the price of a stamp will help post offices. As pointed out by the Sinn Féin spokesperson in this area, Deputy Stanley, the Bill not only proposes to increase the postage charge, it seeks to remove the current cap and the checks and balances in place in this area. As such this is not a quick fix solution but a proposal that will have long-term consequences because of a lack of regulation following the removal of those checks and balances.
The problem is that the Bill is presented as a panacea for the problems facing the post office network. In reality, a full suite of measures are necessary to help and boost rural post offices, many of which were outlined by my colleagues and have been well rehearsed in all of the reports published on the future of post offices. The Government has turned its face against such measures. We are all aware of the difficulties which arose in the past when people in receipt of social welfare payments were directed to banks and other financial institutions and away from post offices. The policy of the Government is anti-rural post offices and anti-rural Ireland, which is not in the interests of rural communities.
As I said, Sinn Féin's opposition to the Bill is a vote of confidence in post offices and a vote against the policies of the Government.