An Post must go back to the drawing board

22 April 2018

Statement by Joe Costello

Speaking after statements and interviews from An Post in recent days, Labour spokesperson on Urban Regeneration, Joe Costello said:

"There are too many contradictions in the policy statements emanating from An Post.

T"he Minister for Communications, Denis Naughten briefed Cabinet last week that 2,000 jobs would have to go in An Post out of a total of 9,000 over the next four years.

"Today in RTE’s This Week Programme, the chief executive of An Post, David McRedmond, dismissed this out of hand as relating to a late 2017 strategic plan.  A six-month plan is hardly an old plan and it was presented to the Cabinet as the most up to date statement of intent by An Post.

"The Postmasters and Postmistresses Union and the staff in the sub-post offices and An Post branches will scarcely have been reassured by the CEO’s interview.

"An Post appears to have no real policy other than to reduce its post office outlets and cut its staff in both urban and rural areas.

"In 2015 An Post made a profit of €8.6 million and everything was fine.  In 2016 it made an unexpected loss of €12.4 million, panicked and demanded that the Government increase the price of a stamp by 28% and it sold off some prime property.  It still expected losses of €5 million in 2017 rising to €145 million by 2021.

"It drew up its Strategic Plan on that basis in 2017.  It was taken by complete surprise when instead of a loss it posted a profit of €8 million.  It had never envisaged the remarkable increase in e-commerce that resulted in a 30% increase in parcel delivery business.  This of course will continue to increase substantially in the years to come.

"An Post’s first priority should be not to panic on a yearly basis but to be honest with its staff and its customers.  For example, in November of 2017, An Post decided to close down its Phibsborough Branch and turn it into a sub-post office.  It never officially informed the eight staff in the Post Office nor sit down with them to discuss the issues involved until April 2018, six months later.  It still has not informed the local community and its customers of its intentions.

"An Post is an incredibly important semi-state body.  It has links to every community in every part of Ireland.

"It should engage in a national discussion with each and every community.  It should go out to the people rather than produce a confidential memo and when the media got hold of it deny that it had any basis in the here and now.

"An Post is a valuable semi-state body.  It has enormous potential and it must be sustainable into the future.  To do that it must operate in an inclusive manner.  It must enter into a social contract with all its stakeholders - postmasters/mistresses, staff, customers and the national community."