*28 post offices closed in Longford, Westmeath and Roscommon between 2005-10.
*No post offices have closed in the three counties since Fine Gael came to office.
Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has said this Government is firmly committed to keeping post offices at the heart of rural Ireland.
“Before Fine Gael came into Government, 28 post offices across Longford (6), Westmeath (3) and Roscommon (19) closed between 2005 and 2010 but no post offices have closed in any of the three counties since 2011 when my party entered office.
“This information regarding closures was among data recently supplied by An Post to my party colleague, Galway West TD, Sean Kyne. The national figures also show that while twenty two post offices closed across the country between 2011 and 2014, 288 post offices were closed down between 2005 and 2010.
“Some of the scaremongering on this issue in rural Ireland is unwelcome. There is no doubt that the postal service in Ireland plays a vital role in communities, a role which is magnified in rural communities. The local post office is more often than not located at the heart of local towns and villages, often times acting as a social outlet for those who are in more isolated areas, people like farmers or the elderly.
“I certainly echo the sentiments of Deputy Kyne, who has said that this Government has a comprehensive plan to protect the future of our postal network.This Government wants to not only protect but to expand post office services to ensure their future strength. In May, the Government established a cross-departmental group to examine how the State can play a role in securing the future of our post offices. A primary objective is to encourage all departments to consider the potential of post offices to assist in the service they deliver.
“An Post has introduced new business lines in the area of bill payment, passport applications, Garda fines, ‘postfone’ and foreign exchange. It has also made positive progress in diversifying its network, through deals with AIB and Aviva Ireland and I feel confident that the future is bright for our postal service as a result.”