COVID Impact on Post Offices Affecting Rural Economies

A recent report from The Irish Postmasters’ Union details transactions in Post Offices are estimated to be down by 25% – heightening serious viability challenges facing the Network.

Postmasters have warned that the coronavirus pandemic is having a very serious negative impact on transactions in Post Offices, and by extension cash spending in local economies.

The Irish Postmasters’ Union today called for people to be offered the choice to collect social welfare payments either weekly or every two weeks.

Speaking from Leinster House early on Wednesday morning, Independent TD, Verona Murphy, has reiterated her support for the rural Post Office in particular.

“a comparison of transactions for the month of August comparing 2020 with 2019 by Postmasters estimated that Post Office business was down by 25%. As a public safety measure in March, the government changed welfare payments to every two weeks during COVID-19 lockdown, some of these payments have been re-instated to weekly since August but not all. On weeks where little welfare is paid out, activity in the surrounding businesses can be ghostly. This is gravely affecting our smaller rural businesses who are already struggling in the midst of an already extremely difficult trading time. Government needs to recognise this and connect these two factors”.

The Irish Postmasters’ Union has said people should be offered the choice of weekly or bi-weekly for all payments, as this would support local economies, help some people to better manage their finances and support business at Post Offices.

The Independent Deputy added,

“The local Post Office is about much more than the Post Office itself, The Post office network is one of rural Irelands most important services. Rural Ireland is built around the local post office, local supply stores and the local pub and rural life has been completely ripped apart since March. Post Offices provide an invaluable service to local communities and support businesses and jobs in the local community.”

“More state services need to be available to people through their local PO. The Government could save large amounts of money by operating services through the post office. They could have saved ½ a million euro’s if they had put Local Property Tax payments through the post office network, that’s a ½ million that could be used elsewhere in this ailing economy.”

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