The Workers’ Party has criticised an announcement by An Post of a plan to close around 100 post offices across the country while concentrating modernised servces in cities and larger urban areas as another blow to small town and rural Ireland.

Meath Workers’ Party representative Seamus McDonagh accused An Post of packaging a major run-down of the postal service as an upgrade and a further step towards privatisation of the service in the medium to long-term.

Mr. McDonagh said: “This is far from an upgrade. It is a plan to close at least 100 mainly rural post offices and centralise services in larger towns and cities.  This will further damage hundreds of small communities around the country including villages and towns which have already lost banks, garda stations and many other facilities over the past decade and more.”

“We already have a situation whereby even some large towns have lost services or have had them reduced.  Towns which once had a full sub-post office now have to make do with a counter inside a local shop and at least once major bank has withdrawn counter services from all but the largest towns and cities”

The Kells based Workers’ Party representative said An Post needed to be reminded that it is owned by the Irish people and was set up to provide them with a proper postal service – a vital social service that should be accessible to all.

He concluded: “It would be at travesty if An Post was allowed to proceed with this plan to divest itself of counter services in most of rural Ireland which has already been devastated by the loss of population and services. The Workers’ Party calls on the Minister for Communications, Shane Ross, to instruct An Post to maintain post office services where they already exist while ensuring that new offices are opened in areas of major population growth”