Minister: Communities must use or lose their post offices & # 39; & # 39;

The reason that some post offices in rural Ireland are at risk of being closed is simply because fewer and fewer people use them.

That was the position of the Minister of the Interior, Michael Ring, T.D., when he visited Connemara last week.

"We have to be honest about this", says Minister Ring. "A Post does not want to close post offices, it is the decreasing use of the local offices that bring the threat of closure closer and closer."

Minister Ring was in Clifden to officially open the Connemara Pony Breeders Society Show.

When answering a question about the fear of closure of the post office in the Irish countryside, the minister said: "Look, there are people signing petitions and now attending public meetings that have never been in the door of their local post office."

Minister Ring has also started a village – which he did not mention – where half of the people there go to a post office in another city because they do not want to be seen going to the local office to get their "collections".

He also stated that 80% of the applicants for driving licenses now go through this process online.

Minister Ring said that most people would still be within 15 kilometers of a post office, even if all the closures that are now being put forward have been put into operation. "Communities that now have post offices must" use them or lose them, "said Minister Ring.

A whole series of post office closures – including a number in County Galway – is now approaching because a significant number of local postmasters opt for a severance pay that corresponds to a two-year income.

While An Post says that the process – agreed with the Postmasters Union – is a "consolidation" of services, it is assumed that no new post offices will be established in the affected areas.

The policy is to link the area that a post office loses to the nearest functioning post office in order to substantiate a "viable" scheme. There have been protests about this policy in a number of areas in Western countries.

Minister Michael Ring said that there is no fault to be assigned to postmasters who use the pension package. "Many of them spend long hours and do not pay a basic wage," the minister said. "No one can expect people to do that".

Minister Ring said the public should support post offices that are viable or that they will not be there. "It is use them or they lose," the minister said.

"I want to keep the services in rural Ireland," said the Minister of Community and Rural Affairs, "but the community must support them".

The minister also had some shrewd words for the banks and what he sees as their dwindling connection with rural communities.

"We now have no banks that support the general public," Minister Ring said. He said that the emphasis on online banking was "not good" and that he was critical of the trend in that direction in the banking world.

Minister Ring said that the government had agreed not to obstruct the establishment of "community banks", but that they would not be involved in their financing. He said that Irish Rural Link is currently formulating strategies that could lead to the formation of such banks.

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