Dáil Éireann - Volume 542 - 17 October, 2001

Written Answers. - Bill Pay Services.

15. Mr. Barrett asked the Minister for Public Enterprise the response she has received from the banking sector as a follow-up to her request to them for a financial contribution to An Post to provide the bill paying services which the banks will no longer provide; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24089/01]

Minister for Public Enterprise (Mrs. O'Rourke): In April this year, I announced an agreement reached between the banks and An Post under which specific payments, which were formerly handled by the banks, could be carried out in post offices around the country at no cost to the consumer. This agreement is now, I understand, the subject of an investigation by the Competition Authority.

Further co-operation between An Post and the banks as an umbrella group cannot proceed until this issue is resolved. I would be keen that the question of an ongoing financial contribution by the banks to the provision of bill pay services by An Post would be explored if discussions resume.