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 Header Item Leaders' Questions (Continued)
 Header Item Order of Business

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 4

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(Speaker Continuing)

[The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar] If post offices are to survive, they will need to change their business. This is very much the kind of solution the Minister is examining. Things such as community banking services are in the mix, as are things like digital assist. Particularly as Government services go online only, the aim is to use the post office as the portal for those who do not want to use computers or who, for some reason, are unable to do so. They will be able to go to the post office to access the services provided online. The revised business plan is still being worked on.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae I thank the Taoiseach for his reply, but going back to criticising Fianna Fáil is not a very helpful way to deal with the issue. What I am asking him to do is to study the motion brought before the House in November 2016 and implement it. I have 100% confidence in the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Denis Naughten. His heart is in the right place and I know that he would want to keep every post office open if it was humanly possible to do so. Again, this will require direction and leadership from the Taoiseach, but boasting about how few post offices have closed since Fine Gael came to power is not very helpful. We must ensure more custom is generated for post offices. The Taoiseach spoke about the number of people claiming unemployment benefit, but there are many other services which postmasters are equipped to provide in post offices if only the Government would agree to their doing so. I am pleading with the Taoiseach not to let the opportunity pass. He has a chance to really prove the point that the Government is committed to rural Ireland. He has an opportunity to show that they are not just words, that there is going to be substance behind the talk.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar They are not just words. I spoke about the record in the past because it demonstrates that we are serious. In 2002, 102 post offices throughout the country were closed. In 2003, 193 post offices were closed, but so far this year, under Fine Gael, with the Independent Alliance and Independent Members, only one post office has been closed.

Deputy Mary Butler: Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler Ten have been closed temporarily.

The Taoiseach: Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar The Deputy can see already that there has been a considerable slow down in the number of post offices that are being closed. It is not a coincidence that things have changed so much under this compared to previous Governments. I am committed to this, too, and it is something on which I will engage with the Minister in more detail in the weeks ahead to try to come up with a plan that will bring new business and modern services to post offices in order that they will be able to stay open. The only way to make them sustainable is to introduce new and modern services to replace those that are inevitably going to continue to decline.

Order of Business

Deputy Michael Moynihan: Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan Tuesday's business shall be No. 7, motion re Double Taxation Relief (Taxes on Income) (Republic of Kazakhstan) Order 2017, back from committee; No. 8, motion re Exchange of Information Relating to Tax Matters (Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China) Order 2017, back from committee; No. 9. motion re Sectoral Employment Order (Construction Sector) 2017, back from committee; No.10, motion re Broadcasting Act 2009 (Designation of Major Events) Order 2017, back from committee; No. 11, motion re Statement of Estimates for the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission; No. 11a, motion re Further Revised Estimates 2017, referral to committee; No. 12, motion re Thirteenth Report of the Committee of Selection; and No. 21, Water Services Bill 2017 - Second Stage (resumed). Private Members' Business shall be No. 142, motion re detrimental effect of extension of city boundaries on county areas, selected by the Rural Independent Group.

  Wednesday’s business shall be No. 21, Water Services Bill 2017 - Second Stage (resumed); No. 22, Legal Metrology (Measuring Instruments) Bill 2017 - Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; No. 1, Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill 2016 - amendments from the Seanad; and No. 21a, pre-European Council statements.

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