Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described an emergency Dáil debate on the future of the rural Post Office Network as utterly shambolic and shameful. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he and three other Dáil deputies submitted the matter for Topical Issue debate yesterday:
“Given the gravity of the threat and indeed the potential fallout for rural Ireland, the least I was expecting was that the relevant Minister and Department would be dealing with the issue.
Instead, the first line from Minister of State Michael Ring’s mouth was that he had absolutely no responsibility for the matter.
Given that he is Minister of State for Regional and Economic Development that amounted to a very unacceptable response.
Minister Ring was clearly extremely annoyed that he had been landed in this position and totally accepted our view that it was in fact the line Ministers, either Denis Naughten, or Minister Heather Humphreys who should have taken the debate.
These kinds of silly and unprofessional tactics will only serve to underscore the belief in rural Ireland that the government has no real intention of tackling what is going to become an enormous political battle.
Indeed if you add this political farce to the announcement of An Post Chief Executive David McRedmond, that the closure of a large number of rural post offices as well as a programme of redundancies is expected to be part of its McKinsey plan, then it can be clearly seen that we are in the midst of a serious crisis.
The government need to wake up to the scale of the problem and stop playing pass the parcel when it comes to responsibility for the survival of the Post Office network in rural Ireland,” concluded Deputy McGrath.