DONEGAL Deputy Charlie McConalogue has outlined details of a new Fianna Fáil proposal aimed at securing the future of local post offices.
The document, published this week, recognises that post offices are a strategic community asset that must be protected. It sets out detailed proposals to: Increase the commercial activity of post offices; Expand An Post’s financial services; Allow post offices to become a centre for all state payments and charges; Create shared community services and multi-purpose space in rural post offices; and provide internet and printing facilities in rural post offices where appropriate.
Deputy McConalogue explained, “The value of the local post office to communities across Donegal cannot be overstated. Not only does the local post office provide essential services to the community, it is also a social hub and a focal point for community life. Unfortunately now, the very existence of local post offices across this county is under threat.
“The only way that post offices will survive is if their role is expanded in the community. Instead of reducing the financial work of post offices as the Government plans to do, we are proposing to enhance and expand An Post’s financial services. Post Offices need to offer more services – like internet and office facilities where possible as well as processing a range of financial.
“This has never been as important as it is now. Local services have been under attack in communities across Donegal. Many communities have recently lost their local bank branch, as well as a range of other local services. Garda stations have been closed, small schools are under threat, local health services have been cut and funding for local amenities and road improvements has been reduced. The loss of the local post office would be another nail in the coffin for many rural communities.
“Our proposals offer the Government an alternative. They offer a chance to strengthen the post office network at a time when rural communities desperately need to hang on to their local amenities. It’s deeply disappointing that Fine Gael and Labour this week voted against a Dáil motion to support local post offices. I am urging our local Government TDs in Donegal to carefully consider these constructive proposals and to take a stand to endure that we do not see the closure of post offices across Donegal.”
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