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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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Snippet Contents:

They include the significant trust and goodwill the post office network has developed far and beyond its capacity with its customers, the role of the local post office in social inclusion and in acting as a conduit for two-way information flow and of caring and the knowledge that postmasters and their staff possess about elderly, vulnerable and often isolated customers.
We need to act now to reverse the worrying decline of the post office network. While I do not necessarily agree with removing the bar on having a cap on the price of stamps, unfortunately, if it is the only step we can take now to sustain the network; it is what we must do. We must also introduce other measures, however, and engage in fresh thinking on this issue. I agree that a working group should be established to identify the potential capacity for local post offices to act as hubs, facilitate other services and function as one-stop shops for other Government services such as those on which commitments were given in A Programme for a Partnership Government. The payment of motor tax, for example, and other Government services could be facilitated through the post office network, as could the extension of social protection payments. We often hear of older people who do not have computer facilities or skills. The post office must be able to do this type of work as part of its remit, including by providing printing facilities.
To secure the long-term future of the postal service and maintain an active post office network, we need to introduce a broader range of resources and measures. The network is a vital asset, especially given the scope of the network and the number of people who work in it. Post offices must remain part of the Irish cultural identity. As well as their many practical uses, they serve as strong focal points for communities. It is vital that we defend this key national resource. If the measure proposed in the Bill is a short-term solution while other measures are considered, so be it.