A new group that has been set up to explore the commercial potential of post offices has been welcomed by Tipperary Labour Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly.
This week saw the establishment of the new body, formally known as the Post Office Network Business Development Group.
It was formed by Labour Ministers Alex White and Ann Phelan in a bid to put the post office network on a sustainable footing for the future.
Minister Kelly said: “Post offices are the fabric of our local towns and villages, but the ever-changing market place has caused difficulties for postmasters. Indeed we have witnessed those difficulties first-hand in Tipperary.
“The Government’s response to these challenges has been establishment of this group, which will have strategic importance to the future viability of the network. It’s work will focus on identifying products and services that are suited to a modern post office and which meet the needs of the 1.7 million customers who use post offices across urban and rural Ireland every week.”
The group is being chaired by well-known businessman Bobby Kerr and will report back to the Minister later in the Autumn. Minister Kelly added: “Addressing the challenges facing rural post offices is a key priority for Labour in Government and this new body is a manifestation of our commitment to the issue.
“A proper strategy needs to be drawn up for post office sustainability of our post office network - I have faith that this group is key to developing this plan.
“I am also pleased that representatives of the Irish Postmasters’ Union and An Post will be members of the group, as it will ensure a healthy divergence of opinion and viewpoints on this critical issue.”