An Post to close 161 post offices

Post network to be reduced to 950 offices after postmasters take retirement packages

The IPU and An Post had been involved in protracted industrial talks over restructuring plans for the postal network.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The IPU and An Post had been involved in protracted industrial talks over restructuring plans for the postal network. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

An Post has announced it will close 161 post offices as part of a voluntary retirement scheme agreed with postmasters.

The deal follows lengthy negotiations between the State postal service and the Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU).

The closures will reduce the post office network from 1,111 offices to 950, and An Post will release details of which offices will be closing at the end of the month.

The IPU and An Post had been involved in protracted industrial talks over restructuring plans for the postal network.

In May, the IPU passed a ballot to support a new plan for the post office network, with the support of 80 per cent of members. The voluntary retirement package was included as part of that overall future plan for the postal service with 161 postmasters applying for it.

The plan had been agreed with the union’s executive and An Post, and was approved by the membership on May 11th.

Debbie Byrne, managing director of An Post retail said the closures marked a “key point on the journey towards a stronger post office network.”

“Some closures were inevitable in a network that has been largely unchanged for many years. The consolidation of post office business will strengthen the remaining post offices,” she said.

The restructuring would include the rollout of a wider range of services post offices could provide, which would “see a reinvigorated network across 950 post offices,” she said.

“We appreciate that these decisions have not been easy for the individual postmasters and we are grateful for their dedication over many years of service in their communities,” she said.

In a statement, An Post said the company was in agreement with the IPU and postmasters that consolidating the network and “the subsequent transfer of business to neighbouring offices, is essential to the sustainability of the overall network.”

The semi-State company said it would stand by commitments that communities with populations of over 500 people would have a post office, and 95 per cent of the population would always be within 15km of at least one post office. There were no plans to close any post offices based on island communities, An Post said.

“To meet the above coverage commitments, An Post will also publish at the end of August a target list of new post office locations,” a spokeswoman said.

The restructuring is part of a wider €50 million investment programme for the postal network.

In areas where post offices will be closing, local shops will provide some services such as stamps, bill payments, mobile-top ups and television licence renewal through a PostPoint counter facility, the company said.