Postmasters call for communities to defend ‘last light on in the main street’

Conference told rural post offices efficient, technologically advanced and ideally placed to provide small-scale banking services and support local businesses

The local post office was "the last light on in the main street" in many communities now and maintaining the local post office network was essential to the fabric of Ireland, especially with the closure of Garda stations and bank branches, the Irish Postmasters Union annual conference has heard.

IPU general secretary Brian McGann said in Tralee: “In many communities the post office is the last light on in the main street. Now is the time to act so that the post office is not lost like so much of the community infrastructure that has already disappeared.”

In particular he said the IPU believed there was a need for a banking offering grounded in the community "to provide small-scale loans for personal customers and for small local businesses. In this regard, the IPU sees the potential for an alliance between An Post and credit unions".

He said it was a misconception to think the post office is part of the old way of doing things. “The reality is that we have the most up to date technology available in every post office throughout the country and our systems have the capacity and flexibility to take on new business easily and quickly.”