No post office will stay open unless people use it, says Taoiseach

Independent TD Thomas Pringle says An Post identified 265 post offices as non-viable

Thomas Pringle: “The truth of the matter is that the banks are not interested in addressing the needs of communities. They will always be driven by profit margin”

Thomas Pringle: “The truth of the matter is that the banks are not interested in addressing the needs of communities. They will always be driven by profit margin”

 

No post office will stay open unless people use it, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said. “The Government has made a decision that there should be basic banking facilities made available in post offices, and we are working on that,’’ he added.

The Taoiseach was replying in the Dáil to Independent TD Thomas Pringle, who said An Post had identified 265 post offices as non-viable. “No doubt we will see plans crystallising over the coming months seeking to close these too,’’ he said.

Mr Kenny said between 2004 and 2010, 345 post offices closed; in the past five years 37 were closed.

Mr Pringle said rural Ireland had been dealt another blow recently when Ulster Bank announced plans to shut 22 branches between June and September of this year.

Two of them, he said, were located in Ardara and Raphoe in his Donegal constituency. “Once they are closed it will leave these rural towns without any form of banking facility at all.’’

He added: “The truth of the matter is that the banks are not interested in addressing the needs of communities. They will always be driven by profit margin, but while private sector banks restructure their businesses and move online, communities still need banking services to survive.’’

Credit unions

Mr Kenny said the Government had published a very substantial rural development programme which included the provision of 135,000 jobs.

He said credit unions were regulated by the Central Bank, and two reports had been produced. “The Government has implemented them, and is fully supportive of the credit unions all over the country.’’