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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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Snippet Contents:

In this regard, the company has started a fundamental review to identify necessary strategic changes in restructuring. This is jargon which was written by some of the Government's advisers or officials. It has been staring us in the face since before Fine Gael went into government six years ago and Fianna Fáil was in government before it. It is quite obvious to anyone with a nose on his or her face. The Government is looking in the wrong place, as it is on so many other issues. It is looking at the problem as being postmistresses and postmasters in small sub-post offices, but they only receive a tiny transaction fee for all they do. The Government is trying to take the business away from them and now it is stating it will increase prices which will kill it off altogether.
We have just finished a great year celebrating the 1916 Rising. I ask the Minister of State to look at the GPO because that is where the problem is. I have it on good authority that the problem is in headquarters. He should look at the costs incurred there and ask whether there are people who are not gainfully employed because of union and other sweet deals. It is there and in other big post offices where the money is being siphoned off. I do not want to deny anyone a job, but I do not and cannot condone what we have had in Cashel hospital for the past eight years where people have been paid to be idle. That is madness and it is not fair to the workers involved. The elephant in the room is on O'Connell Street, in the famous building in which we saw so much happen last year - the GPO. We should look no further than it. Both there and in some of the bigger post offices throughout the country there are huge costs, while others deliver the post in all weather conditions and on bad roads to distressed people. We are not looking at the main problem because of sweet and cosy deals and agreements done, perhaps not by the Government, but it is not acceptable. Union representatives can come here, as can postmasters, and whinge, cry, moan and groan, but let us be honest with ourselves and the people. We are in the middle of a deep recession and hope we are coming out of it, but we must weed out such practices. They are in certain parts of the public service, but there is no place for them in an Ireland that is struggling and recovering. We must look at where the problem is. We are awaiting the Kerr report and wondering when we will receive it. I am not saying Mr. Kerr is, but people are afraid to face the reality and look at the elephant in the room sa GPO agus in áiteanna eile. They went there for noble reasons at the time.
When our Bill was debated, I said "Use it or lose it." I genuinely thought that when the Government accepted it, it would act on it in good faith, but it has not done so. This is not a solution but a knee-jerk reaction. It is like cutting off one's hand if one has a spot on top of one's finger. That is what it is. There will be a 30% to 40% increase in prices, but more and more business will be lost. Therefore, it does not make sense. Businesspeople are struggling and need services. They use postal services. There are people, including my children, who do not send anything by post. They use IT facilities, but this is damaging. We have seen it in the past 15 years; it is not today or yesterday that it has happpened, but this is a knee-jerk and desperate reaction, a desperate effort to avoid facing the real problem. It should be dealt with and the unions should be challenged. If I am wrong, I will come back and correct myself, but I do not think I am because this is what I have garnered and been told. I was not told by whistleblowers, but it is known and it is happening in other areas such as the HSE. It is not fair to those on the front line who struggle and suffer on a daily basis in doing an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. This issue should have been dealt with years ago.
I do not blame the Minister of State for all of this, but it is a cop-out and I cannot support it because I am a businessman and it would be totally against every vein of intuition in my body and business sense or nous I have to think prices could be increased by that much when the business is declining. They should be cut to try to increase business. We all had to cut our prices drastically in the past five or six years to hang on in. Some cuts were forced but more were agreed to. Anyone involved in business will state this, including shopkeepers, but the Government is out of touch. It is in a bubble, as was said earlier, but that bubble will burst very soon and the Government will up in smoke when it does.