Competition in postal services


Madam, - Your Editorial of June 8th on the proposed liberalisation of the postal market ignores entirely the fact that the European Commission has proposed the complete liberalisation of postal markets while requiring companies such as An Post to carry the responsibility for universal service obligation, (USO), without making any provision for compensation.

In practice, therefore, An Post will be forced to deal with competition on all fronts from competitors who will be enabled to operate to commercial criteria, whereas An Post will be required to continue to deliver mail everywhere, even where it is uneconomic to do so.

The Commission's position is that payment for USO is a matter for individual member states. The outgoing Minister, Mr Dempsey has made it quite clear that the Government is not in favour of providing An Post with State subsidy. Thus, An Post may be expected to carry this cost itself while its competitors will be free to "cherry-pick" the more lucrative sectors.

Surely even your writer can acknowledge that this is a strange form of "competition". The reality, of course, is that those who advocate competition in the provision of public services - and mail delivery is unarguably a service to which all citizens are entitled - are always confronted by the fact that market forces and the common good are not automatic partners. That is a fact that cannot be forced to disappear by ideologically motivated wishful thinking. - Yours, ATC,

T GERAGHTY, Deputy General Secretary, Public Service Executive Union, Merrion Square, Dublin 2.