An Post facing 200 PO closures

Irish postal operator An Post is to face major cuts to its post office network when an in depth review is published in the coming few months.

Headed by business leader Bobby Kerr, a government report was commissioned to help the struggling postal sector. When it was commissioned, around 80 post offices were going to be closed but reports in the local media last weekend suggest that this could be closer to more than 200.

An Post responded to the claims with a statement saying: “An Post is aware of the reports in today’s media concerning the future of the Post Office network. These reports have not come from An Post.

“We are currently completing the first detailed, in-depth review of the Post Office Network for many years. This review will take into account shifting demographics, the changing marketplace for services and the economics for postmasters.  No decisions have been made while this review is ongoing.

“An Post’s intention is to produce a plan for a commercially viable and self-funded network which will meet the needs of citizens across the State. We expect the work to be completed within the next couple of months.”

An Post has not commented further officially since then. However, An Post’s CEO David McRedmond sent a letter to postmasters this weekend that suggested a ‘fundamental restructuring’ is called for and that this must begin now.

The Irish media – including independent.ie – published quotes from the letter on Sunday. An Post has confirmed these quotes are accurate.

“The approach the An Post team and I are taking differs from the [Kerr] report in two fundamental respects,” McRedmond said.

“Firstly, the report is predicated on a temporary and uncertain subsidy from Government. Secondly, the time-scale envisaged in the report is to stabilise the network for the next four years after which the problems would be even greater than they are today.

“We cannot and I do not want to delay the necessary fundamental restructuring decisions until 2020.

“Rather, we can complete the work now to ensure that we have a sustainable future for the business, certainty for postmasters, and continue to provide a high-quality service to our customers.”

McRedmond added that he expected “the necessary major decisions to be made before the summer”.

An Post’s national network currently has 1,121 post offices. Around 260 of these are in areas of relatively low population – and it is possible that these could among the post offices at risk from possible closure.  
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