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01/18/2017 12:00:00 AM


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Kenny, Martin

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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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Second Stage

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Senator


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Deputy Martin Kenny

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Martin Kenny

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Snippet Contents:

As stated, Sinn Féin does not support the Bill because, at the end of the day, rural Ireland matters. If rural Ireland matters, we must ensure the post office network is retained and grown. There have been many post offices closed throughout the country. The post office in the village of Cloone, which is in my constituency, closed a number of years ago following the death of the postmaster. Similarly, post offices the length and breadth of the country are being closed. The Government is doing its best to close post offices. That is the experience of communities. The Government may state is not its policy, but that is the reality on the ground for the vast majority of people. The post office in Ballygawley in Sligo is under threat of closure, in respect of which consultation with the local community is ongoing.
Legislation which seeks to remove the cap on postage charges does not change policy. The policy of the Government is continuously to move the more profitable parts of the postal service to the private sector. The country is awash with couriers delivering parcels yet our post office service, a network that has been in place for over a century, cannot access that type of work. This is happening because Government continues to pursue its policy of moving profitable services to the private sector while the remaining services are left to the public sector. When the post office network then loses money we all throw our hands up in the air declaring that it is no good and the public purse cannot afford it.
The Government needs to realise the people must have a service and that that service can be profitable if a genuine effort is made to make it profitable. I am of the view, as is the post office network and the trade unions involved in this area, that a solution can be found to make the postal service work. The solution put forward by the Government is not adequate and will not provide for rural post offices the length and breadth of this country. We do not want to go down the road of privatisation of this service and the closure of post offices by a thousand cuts. This proposal will result in rural Ireland being left behind again. I appeal to the Minister of State to ensure that does not happen.