Updated: 13/03/17 : 05:19:03
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Post office closures on cards before summer

Special Report

POST OFFICES in Sligo and the three other counties in the constituency seem certain to feature on an upcoming closures list.

Decision on closures seems likely before summer, with top management in An Post pushing for ''fundamental restructuring'' of the service.

Chief Executive David McRedmond will write to all 1,130 postmasters nationwide this week.

The 'bad news' is that McRedmond will confirm his opposition to proposals which would save all post offices and give postmasters a guaranteed minimum income.

The CEO believes those proposals do not offer long-term solutions to the current losses in An Post, said The Sunday Times yesterday.

Figures due to be made public shortly will show that An Post lost 45 million in 2016 from operating the national postal service, said the newspaper.

The smaller outlets in the current network of 1,100 local post offices absorbed 10 million of those losses in 2016, it added.

Much of the focus for (potential) closures now seems likely to fall on that group of smaller post offices.

The 10 million losses last year were absorbed by 530 local outlets -- roughly half the nationwide network.

Two-thirds of An Post's current annual business is generated by just 350 post offices.

Major Decisions

The signposts to a slashing of services is contained in McRedmond's letter going to local postmasters this week.

''I appreciate these are challenging and troubling times for all involved in the business,'' the CEO writes.

''An Post has no wish to prolong this uncertainty.....I expect the necessary major decisions to be made before the summer,'' postmasters will be notified.

Crucially, the CEO is opposed to a four-year timeframe proposed for turnaround of An Post fortunes.

That idea envisaged in proposals from the Government appointed group led by Bobby Kerr.

Verbal Fisticuffs

Politally, any move to downgrade any local post office would spark protest.

Sligo TD Marc MacSharry and Taoiseach Enda Kenny engaged in verbal fisticuffs on the issue in the Dail last week.

The move would be seen in the context of Garda station and bank branch closures in recent years.