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01/18/2017 12:00:00 AM


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Murphy, Eugene

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Bills

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Communications Regulation (Postal Services) (Amendment) Bill 2016

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Second Stage

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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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B2

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Communications Regulation (Postal Services) (Amendment) Bill 2016

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Second Stage

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Not applicable

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Senator


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Deputy Eugene Murphy

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Deputy Eugene Murphy

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Eugene Murphy

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02/05/2020 05:35:45 PM

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Snippet Contents:

I wish to share time with Deputy Casey and others.
I join Deputy Durkan, the Minister of State and others in wishing my constituency colleague, the Minister, Deputy Naughten, a very speedy recovery. I have been in contact with him by text and he has been in contact with me. He appreciates all the good wishes and is making a slow recovery. It was quite a frightening experience for him and his wife. We all wish him well. Táim cinnte go mbeidh Denis ar ais sa Teach seo i gceann cúpla seachtain. That is what we all hope.
While this debate is one we probably would prefer not to have, it is necessary. It is necessary for those of us on the side of the House to support the Government, albeit reluctantly, because nobody wants charges to increase. We have to consider the consequences of what may happen if we do not.
The Bill is very much a stopgap move. Every Member of the House, in particular those who have spoken against what is being proposed, needs to realise the consequences of what we could face within a couple of months if we do not make the tough decisions that have been proposed regarding increasing charges.
The post office service could collapse. What would that mean? It would mean a number of post offices would close and workers would lose their jobs. It would probably mean that there would be a reduced postal service. We are very fond of having our post delivered every day but if An Post runs into a deeper financial crisis, there is every possibility that we would have a very much reduced service. It may not be the most popular thing to do, but the reality is that it is a necessary move at this stage.
This crisis has built up over a number of years. During every debate on the closure of a post office, I emphasised the importance of technology. We cannot and do not want to stop technology but the reality of what has happened to the post office service is, in many respects, a case of technology taking over.
Before Christmas I asked the Taoiseach about the state of the postal service. I expressed concern at the time and asked whether the Minister, Deputy Naughten, the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, or the Minister of State, Deputy Ring, had responsibility in this area. One Minister should have such responsibility. I also said that unless something was urgently done, the service could collapse and that would be serious for many parts of the country.
I conducted a survey of a class of about 78 students from a local secondary school. I found out that only one out of the 78 students use the post office. All of the younger generation use technology. They are not posting letters; everything is done electronically. That is the reality. We should have seen this coming many years ago and built up new services in post offices. There was no way that every rural post office would maintain a service. The reality was that some would close. We could now face a very difficult situation whereby many more would close because of what has arisen.
The sorting of post, which took place at county depots, has been regionalised, which was the wrong move. Many people in business tell me that the postal service is no longer as efficient. Was that a bad move? In addition, there was a deliberate policy of trying to take people away from dealing with social welfare payments in post offices. The policy may not have been trumpeted but nothing encouraged people to continue to conduct their social welfare business in post offices. The banks became involved, which was a pity.
We need to ensure that in towns where banks have closed and no credit union is available, post offices are maintained and allowed to provide banking services. It is really important for such towns that banking services are kept in place.