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Order of Business

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Senator Marie-Louise O'Donnell

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I thank the Cathaoirleach for that. I would like to congratulate the National Museum, the Office of Public Works, the Cathaoirleach, the Captain, the ushers and everybody concerned with this new Chamber. I hope that our behaviour and level of argument will parallel the Chamber we have been given to debate legislation.
I want to raise the issue of post offices if some people would stop talking. I believe it is as big an issue as the water issue. With the demise of the rural post office under the Grant Thornton report, it is predicted that 450 to 600 of them will close. Meanwhile in the Lower House a Private Members' Bill on community banking was passed by 157 Deputies. I would like to know what is happening in respect of that Bill.
Community banking works very well in New Zealand. Does the Leader know that 95% of all banking in Ireland is commercial while 70% of all banking in Germany is community and only 12% is commercial. If 500 to 700 post offices are to close, we need some way out of this. I do not believe that putting up the price of stamps or even broadband will save us. We need to follow the example of the Kiwi PostBank of New Zealand. The postal banks are thriving in New Zealand, not as a historical artifact but as a popular new innovation.