Dail Motion to protect Post Office Network-Seamus Healy TD

Statement by Seamus Healy TD   

I will be proposing a private members motion in the Dáil in the coming week. The motion which is supported by independent deputies, Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil is designed to protect and strengthen the network of  post offices. The motion will be debated for 1.5 hours beginning at 7.30pm on next Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

 

 The Department of Social Protection is encouraging conversion to electronic/bank payment of social welfare benefits. Should the Post Office Network loose all or a significant portion of this business it would result in the closure of many post offices and pose a threat to 3000 jobs.  The current National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) savings contract also expires in 2014.

 

In the Programme for Government, the Government undertook to protect and extend the  post office network;

 

Following the closure of many rural garda stations and the pressure for amalgamation of small schools, the Department of Social Protection proposals pose a very serious threat to the viability of village and rural communities

 

The motion calls on the government to honour its commitment in the programme for government. The government should simply accept the private members motion.

 

The motion also calls on the government to:

  • ·         To ensure that An Post be the sole provider of bank accounts into which the electronic payments are made
  • ·         To produce a comprehensive action plan setting out the measures designed to deliver on the strategy agreed in the Programme for Government and to complete the action plan within 3 months of the date of this motion
  • ·         To consider instructing each government department to implement through the Post Office Network, the business identified in the Grant Thornton Report and in the Joint Oireachtas Committee Reports to underpin the sustainability of the Post Office Network 

 

The full text of the motion is as follows:

DÁIL ÉIREANN

Fógra Tairisceana : Notice of Motion

GNÓ COMHALTAÍ PRÍOBHÁIDEACHA

PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BUSINESS

 

That Dail Eireann recognises:

     The Post Office Network is a unique social, cultural and financial institute that is essential to our local communities and country as a whole.

    The vital contribution the Post office Network makes to the Irish economy.   

     The Post Office Network employs over 3000 people throughout Ireland.

     The Post Office Network is the backbone of both rural and urban communities.

     That, as they stand, the DSP plans for the electronic transfer of social welfare payments poses a serious threat to the future of the Post Office Network.

     That without the income derived from the DSP and NTMA contracts, the Post Office network will be destabilised in terms of its viability.

     That it will directly cause a reduction in cash payments at post offices which will ultimately lead to many closures and job losses throughout the country.

 

And Dail Eireann acknowledges:

     The specific commitment in the Programme for Government to ensure the sustainability of the Post Office Network.

     The party wide acknowledgement of all elected representatives that the network provides a vital national strategic asset. 

     That the key to the continued sustainability of the Post Office Network is that An Post be equipped, through the provision of a full banking infrastructure operated by An Post, that will enable the network to facilitate the Department of Social Protection strategy to move to e-payments.

     That the 18% of Irish people that are unbanked and the 23% that are not online rely solely on the Post Office Networks services.

 

 

And calls on The Government:

     To produce a comprehensive action plan setting out the measures to deliver on their strategy and to commit to complete the action plan within three months of the date of this motion. 

     To instruct each government department to implement, through the Post Office Network, the business identified in the Grant Thornton and Joint Oireachtas Committee Reports to underpin the sustainability of the Post Office Network.   

     To commit that all tenders involving over the counter transactions will be decided on the basis of both social and economic policy.  

     To commit to implementing a new banking service that will be available through the Post Office network, and operated by An Post.

     to commit to a once-off capital investment fund for the further modernisation of the Post Office network to enable the widespread provision of banking facilities in rural and disadvantaged areas.

     To commit to reporting on the progress made on the implementation of the plan within six months of its publication. 

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