Paying through An Post 'could save State €85m'

Fri, May 4, 2012, 01:00

SAVINGS OF €85 million could be made if motor tax payments and charges for attending hospital emergency departments as well as other service contracts were done through the State’s post office network, it has been claimed.

Grant Thornton carried out a review of potential service contracts for the Irish Postmasters’ Union and concluded that streamlining payments and channelling them through post offices would save taxpayers millions each year.

It said that if people could pay their motor tax in a post office as opposed to through government channels it could generate savings of €60.6 million.

The review, conducted with the co-operation of An Post, also concluded that the savings from additional banking transactions through post offices would generate €7.7 million, that hospital charges such as hospital emergency departments costs would result in savings of €8.5 million, while the savings from household charges would be €8.1 million.

The union’s general secretary, Brian McGann, said if the findings were acted upon by the Government they would not only ensure massive savings for the taxpayer but would also go a considerable way to ensuring the continued viability of hundreds of post offices.

The review also examined the non-quantifiable costs and benefits of moving services to post offices, and Grant Thornton held discussions with bodies such as the Irish Farmers’ Association, St Vincent de Paul, Irish Rural Link and Age Action Ireland.

“The consensus from these community organisations was that the post office network plays an important role in the community and offers vital services to many people that would be difficult to replace. The decline of the network could have many unintended social and economic consequences, notably in rural areas,” said Mr McGann.