Rural post offices essential for ‘somebody to talk to’

Postmaster and IPU chief Paddy McCann says network a lifeline for older customers

Paddy McCann, president of the Irish Postmasters Union: “You have to recognise your customers, respect them. They’re vitally important, whether they’re coming in just for a stamp, or whether they’re coming in for their pension or their transactions.”  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Paddy McCann, president of the Irish Postmasters Union: “You have to recognise your customers, respect them. They’re vitally important, whether they’re coming in just for a stamp, or whether they’re coming in for their pension or their transactions.” Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Postmaster Paddy McCann, from the small Fairymount post office and shop in Castlerea, Co Roscommon, says the rural network provides a lifeline for older customers.

“There’s somebody to talk to. The financial institutions are closing their door against the customer. They don’t want to know them. They want them pressing buttons,” he said.

“You have to recognise your customers, respect them. They’re vitally important, whether they’re coming in just for a stamp, or whether they’re coming in for their pension or their transactions.

“Confidentiality is the other key. That the person that’s coming into you knows that their business is being transacted and it remains private, confidential.”

Serious challenges

Mr McCann is also president of the Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU), which said businessman Bobby Kerr’s report on the future of post offices showed the serious challenges currently faced by the network.

Although it had “major difficulty” with some recommendations, the IPU said it would work with the Government and An Post to find solutions.

After 32 years as a postmaster, Mr McCann said he wanted to see an expanded role for post offices through providing new services becoming a reality in the short term, “and be delayed by the election period”.

He said he looked forward to facing the challenges outlined in the Post Office Network Business Development Group’s report.