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Snippet Contents:

Second, Mr. Bobby Kerr's report goes through some of this, but there must be a facility for the development of An Post's parcel network, which could also evolve into a transport network. In rural post offices where vans deliver parcels, is it not possible to integrate that system into a rural transport system? It may be unorthodox, but it could still provide connectivity, savings and an increased revenue stream by delivering parcels and helping to carry people at the same time. It could also be seen as an exporting capability, particularly from smaller rural areas where small businesses need that level of connectivity to reach customers.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, is the core communications business. An Post defines its mission as a communications business; therefore, the company should be moving into digital communication services provided locally through this network. Public trust in the brand can be used to become innovative in order that An Post could become a leading public company in providing a whole range of digital services.
When I look at what I pay daily for various communications systems, it may not be usual because Deputies must have a range of different services. I am paying Dropbox, LinkedIn, Google and a raft of media companies for a range of services. I am paying for telephone and broadband also. Some of it is bundled but one has to pay for that stuff now. I want to store all my material online, including photographs and family videos. As I want that material to be there for the children and grandchildren, I am paying all these American companies, even though each one is a small payment. I am paying Google because I breached my 15GB limit of free data, but I am paying €2 or €3 per week for it.
All those services are being provided by international companies, but why can we not look at a State company to provide them? We know that such a State company will be here in 50 or 100 years time. It might give us some security for the nature of our data, so we do not have Facebook or others changing the rules every few years to suit their purposes. Instead we might have a company that we could trust. We would know they are not just out to use one's data for advertising, but to provide a safe and secure place to store data, which could operate online and does not necessarily require a physical network.
It would work well with an outlet to provide that sort of contact point for a range of different digital services that might be provided by such a company which is used to dealing with large transactions. It has our trust, unlike some of those social media and other international companies. I think there is a future in that. It would require a leap of imagination, a change of management and a change in how workers see the nature of the company.
We have no choice about this, however. If we just stick to business as usual, those workers will face an even bleaker future; therefore, it has to change. We could examine many other services also, but An Post should be the centre point for the State's provision of services - not just motor tax renewal, but every aspect in terms of a contact point for the State, including agricultural forums and questions on every service the State provides. It should be a State information office to provide an increased level of transactions which we need to make the system work.
Whatever happens to the Bill and the price cap, my fear is that it could precipitate a real crisis in terms of a drop in volumes and revenue. I am minded not to support the Bill because of that fear, but I will support the Minister, whichever one it is. We have a real problem in that we do not know which Minister is really responsible. It is mad the way in which the responsibilities of this company have been divided. Whoever takes the reins will have a tough time, but this House needs to work collectively to help the Minister and the company to take a completely different direction. That company is hugely important for the future of the country.