Thomas Pringle TD
Anti-rural policies have led to a devastated Irish postal network, independent TD for Donegal and general election candidate, Thomas Pringle, has claimed.
He has today, (Monday), offered his support to the Irish Postmasters’ Union which have warned that hundreds of post office closures are at risk if the next Government doesn’t act.
"Without a strong and vibrant post office network, towns and villages are negatively affected which has been the case in Donegal since Fine Gael came to power.
“Fine Gael’s anti-rural policies have led to a devastated Irish postal network leading to dozens of post office closures in Donegal alone. Many more are at risk as the network has been greatly weakened by policies this Government has pushed through.
"The Government has steadily decreased the amount of funding it has provided and has reduced the amount of business it does with the network over the past number of years," said Deputy Pringle.
He claimed there were many ways the network could be strengthened again.
"I have repeatedly called for the protection of existing social welfare contracts to ensure a steady stream of business is given to post offices. I’ve also called for the roll out of new services to prop up post office revenue.
"This would help to counteract the erosion of business carried out under Fine Gael’s tenure. The next Government must also ensure that top ups are maintained which are due to run out in 2021 and enact the long- abandoned Post Office Network Renewal Plan which was never enacted."
He added: “Protecting the network must remain a priority for the next Government and I am today offering my support for this call. Town and village renewal depends on the existence of services like post offices and people depend on the services post offices have traditionally provided for example pensions and social welfare payments. It would not be difficult to work on expanding these vital services while at the same time stimulating local towns and villages.
“Donegal has been left to deal with the consequences of Fine Gael’s anti-rural legacy. We need a Government that will immediately discontinue this trend and seek policies that will stimulate local towns and villages by protecting key services like post offices. More of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, who propped them up in Government, would mean more of the same,” he said.
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