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01/18/2017 12:00:00 AM


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Healy-Rae, Danny

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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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Deputy Danny Healy-Rae

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Danny Healy-Rae

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Snippet Contents:

I am glad to have the opportunity to speak to the Bill which is very important, especially to those in rural Ireland. Many people in north-west Cork and parts of east Kerry are very worried because the post office in Ballydesmond is due to close at the end of February. They are hopeful An Post will issue a tender for the service again and that someone in the locality will be successful in getting the contract and will keep a post office open in the village. The Ballydesmond post office is very important for the vast rural area of east Kerry and north-west Cork. Many people working in that area use the post office regularly. Munster Joinery employs almost 1,400 people and Kelly's of Ballydesmond, a big civil engineering company is also a significant employer. Indeed, there are four or five big employers in that area and a post office is needed.
The post office in Ballydesmond, as with many parishes, is one of the last facilities available that make the place a village. Most of the other facilities and services associated with villages have gone, such as the creameries, small shops and pubs. If Ballydesmond were to lose its post office, that could signal the end of the village and the identity of the community would be lost. Down the road, only a few miles away, the post office at Knocknagree is due to close in March. We are not so sure if someone will tender for the contract because there is no other shop in the village. There was a little shop in the post office but that is due to close. It is very sad for the community in Knocknagree, where Sliabh Luachra music and the best of Irish traditional music is played regularly. Knocknagree plays host to many big music events and it would be very sad to see the parish without a post office.
Not enough is being done to ensure post offices remain open. We have had Bills, promises and so forth, but all that is needed is for more work to be given to the post offices. Sadly, the last Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Joan Burton, instructed her officials to tell social welfare recipients to provide the Department with their bank details in order that their payments could be transferred electronically via the banks. That did an awful lot of harm to rural post offices. People did what they were told and the post offices were left behind. As the previous speaker said, more work should be given to the post offices. The driver's licence service and many other services and schemes could be administered through the post offices.
An increase in the price of stamps is not the way forward. If I was to increase my rates by 30%, I would not last more than a couple of days in business. I will not be supporting the increase in the price of stamps. I am sorry that I cannot support it but some other way will have to be found to deal with the financial issues. Such an increase will signal the end for An Post completely.