Local Labour Minister Alan Kelly has called on rural post offices to diversify into the provision of tourist and financial services to ensure their on-going viability.
“The new Communications Regulation (Postal Services) Act, signed into law on Tuesday, removed An Post’s exclusive rights to collect and deliver items under 50 grams, diluting its control over most residential mail. This obviously poses challenges to An Post.
“However, with 1,170 post offices and 180 postal agents throughout Ireland, including many in rural villages under threat, they are ideally situated to provide tourist services. At the moment Fáilte Ireland has around 90 Visitor Information Points across Ireland.
“If we are to increase business is in the tourist are this should be expanded upon and rural post-offices stand in an ideal position to facilitate this expansion. They could provide a great boost to the service available to our tourists, as well as increasing their foot-fall if they hosted a visitor information point providing information on local attractions, accommodation, local restaurants, outdoor pursuits, festivals and events.
Notwithstanding the difficulties that Postbank ran into, I still believe that there is considerable scope for post offices to offer more financial services in rural areas, perhaps as agents for existing banks.”
The main purpose of the Act is to transpose the Third Postal Services Directive (2008/6/EC), which provides for the final phase in opening the postal services market to competition. The Act sets out a regulatory framework, the main purpose of which is to safeguard the permanent provision of a universal postal service and to encourage competition in a liberalised market