Through this measure, the Government recognises the importance of a high-value and high-quality Post Office network to citizens throughout Ireland, as well as the central and trusted role of postmasters in our communities.
Minister Anne Rabbitte welcomed the news saying:
Post Offices have always been at the centre of rural social landscapes throughout Ireland. The communication tools offered through Post Office’s gave rural people contact with friends, relatives, and others in nearby and international geographies. POs have served as central features in the social landscapes hamlets, villages, and towns: in many cases, postmasters and post office spaces defined an important part of rural association and behaviour and, thereby, local landscapes.
An Post has gone through a digital transformation in recent years, with the pandemic accelerating this development. The transformation of An Post from an old world of letters and social welfare into a new world of e-commerce and financial and government services has already delivered great results in 2018. The momentum from this transformation is reflected in the new brand positioning and propositions and it is clear that An Post is being built for the long-term on sustainability and customer focus.
Refreshing this iconic Irish brand is another important step in the transformation of An Post and connecting in new ways with new customers by being more relevant and accessible. Post Offices are changing to become modern, sustainable retail outlets while retaining the unique human touch with customers. As masters of delivery they have the expertise and the infrastructure to be the engine of growth for their customers. Whether it’s an SME looking to harness the power of mail to unlock customer demand for their product or an international e-tailer demanding seamless logistics and tailored world-class delivery options, An Post Commerce brings these services together in one place through anpost.com
Minister Hildegarde Naughton, who has special responsibility for Postal Matters, said:
Post offices are a vital part of our community; a fact clearly evident in the monthly footfall of over one million visitors to post offices. Post offices play a central role to both society as a whole and to Government through the provision of high-quality public services in towns, villages and cities right across the country. I am confident that this €30 million multi annual scheme, amounting to €10 million each year for three years, will protect our post office network and will ensure that families and businesses nationwide can continue to access services from within their own communities.
Today’s announcement is a first-time move in the history of Government, where we are now providing direct financial support to postmasters who operate much of our network. It would be remiss of me not to take this opportunity to commend the work of postmasters and post office workers throughout what were incredibly challenging times during the height of Covid-19; indeed, they have brought a whole new meaning to the term public service.
Minister Naughton said:
A modernised post office network will provide a better and wider range of community banking and e-commerce services – for citizens and businesses. Through this measure we are underlining our commitment to a sustainable, nationwide post office network. The duration of the support package – a three-year period – will provide certainty for postmasters and the public, enabling new commercial initiatives and services to be developed. Our aim is to protect and nurture a sustainable and commercially focussed post office network.
Commenting on the measure, Minister Ryan said:
The post office has a central role in the social fabric of this country, in urban communities, and particularly in rural Ireland. This package will provide a one-off intervention of €10 million a year over a three-year period (2023-2025 inclusive) – to support a sustainable post office network in line with our commitments in the Programme for Government. This measure will help to ensure that people can continue to have access to important services through the post office network. It also underpins the Government’s commitment to a network that is sufficient in scale and capacity for people to be able to access these services, no matter where they live.
A sustainable, nationwide post office network
An Post provides important services to its customers and key Government services to citizens. The Government is committed to working with An Post and postmasters to ensure that the network continues to play a strong role in delivering State services.
The measure announced today will support the existing network of approximately 900 post offices. In particular, the aim is to safeguard the most vulnerable post offices – to protect access to services across the country.
Funding will be disbursed, to ensure a balance between providing vital financial support and certainty, while at the same time maintaining a commercial focus. Monies will be distributed between a fixed/guaranteed element and a variable, performance-based element, which will be determined following consultation between An Post and the IPU (Irish Postmasters Union) and approved by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Exact details relating to the disbursal of funds will be released in due course, subsequent to these consultations.