Updated: 29/03/17 : 06:16:42Printable Version
In a political game resembling 'Pass the Parcel'
, the responsibility for the future of over 200 rural post offices has been again shifted.Minister Michael Ring has offloaded the political headache and transferred it back to the Department of Communications run by western colleague, Junior Minister Denis Naughton.
This reverses a move last summer which saw responsibility for the network move from the Independent Roscommon TD’s Department of Communications to the Mayo Fine Gael TD’s Department of Rural Affairs.The move comes as post offices are bracing themselves for a wave of closures as the cash-strapped State company An Post implements a major rationalisation and restructuring plan.channel than there normally would be.”
There have been weeks of political tension between Mr Naughten and Mr Ring, over responsibility for the network of 1,100 post offices.The Irish Times
reported that Mr Naughten has responsibility for An Post but following last summer’s Cabinet decision, the oversight of the post office network was handed over to the Department of Rural Affairs.In recent months, as the prospect of widespread closures of rural post offices grew, it came to be seen as something of a poisoned chalice.
Presenting a report on bolstering the role of rural post offices to the Cabinet on Tuesday, Mr Ring told Ministers that his job “was done” and “it is over to Denis Naughten now”.
It is understood that Mr Ring was reluctant have to oversee a programme of closures of rural post offices, widely expected in the coming months when An Post finalises its restructuring plan.
Mr Naughten later said he is looking “forward to helping to deliver a sustainable postal network across the country by focusing on new digital opportunities working closely with the Board, management and staff of An Post, Postmasters and the whole of Government”.
Meanwhile the future of Ballygawly Post Office in Sligo is looking bleak as no decision on its survival has yet been made by An Post despite an answer being promised by the third week of last January.Chair of the Save Ballygawley Post Office campaign Thomas Walsh had earlier this month written to the Director of Retail at An Post, John Daly seeking an urgent update.
The reply, below
, stated that no decision will be made until an in-depth analysis and review of its retail network countrywide' has been completed.