January 18, 2017
Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy has said that Ireland’s post office system faces serious risks to its viability unless long-term measures are put in place to help it adapt to changing technology and community needs. She said increasing prices of postal services would add to the already exorbitant cost of living and doing business in Ireland and stressed that should not be taken lightly.
Speaking ahead of the debate on the Postal Services Amendment Bill in the Dáil this evening Catherine Murphy said the main purpose of the Bill, a repeal of the price control mechanism governing postal services, would provide for a price hike to inject cash flow into An Post in the short term but in reality it will do little in the longer term to help protect the future of postal services in Ireland. She reiterated the Social Democrats’ General Election manifesto proposal to use the existing post office branch network to help develop a new, publicly owned, community banking sector in Ireland.
In advance of the debate Catherine Murphy TD said:
“The timing couldn’t be more appropriate. The post office network is in trouble and meanwhile public trust in traditional banks is at an all-time low after the banking crash, the recession and the bail-outs. The vast majority of people, I would hazard a guess, would rather bank with publicly owned or community owned institutions. “
She said the difficulties faced by small businesses and households accessing credit through traditional banks could be overcome by such a system:
“Increasingly people are frustrated with a banking system that works against them and not for them. Access to finance will be a vital component of continuous economic recovery and development especially for Irish small and medium businesses and people across the country. We could be looking at a scenario where customers of local post offices have full current account facilities including access to debit cards and online banking.”