I recently called on the Government to make to make a statement committing to retaining the mail distribution centre operated by An Post in Athlone. The future of the An Post network has never been more uncertain.
Fine Gael refused to invest in the network in recent years and this has given rise to a situation whereby Post Offices right across the country are being forced to close their doors. Many of these Post Offices are serving rural areas and play an important role in providing community services.
The future of the mail distribution facility in Athlone is also in doubt as a result of Fine Gael’s refusal to properly fund the network. Consultants have been employed to examine the future of the mail distribution network. However information which I have received shows that these consultants haven’t even visited the Athlone facility to see first-hand how the centre operates. These consultants need to engage with the management and unions representing workers in Athlone’s mail distribution unit. In doing so they will realise that there is great potential to develop the facility in the years ahead.
The Government can’t just sit back and watch the rapid disintegration of the Post Office network. This network plays a vital role in delivering community services, particularly in rural areas. Fine Gael Deputies to realise that a reform plan, backed up with meaningful investment, is needed to save the Post Office network.
I feel very strongly about this issue and will not rest until it is resolved with respect to the wishes and concerns of all those affected in the Midlands region.