Dáil Éireann - Volume 597 - 08 February, 2005

Written Answers - Postal Services.

  123. Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he will report on the publication of the Postal (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2001 and on recent industrial relations at An Post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3604/05]

[399]   Mr. N. Dempsey: The Postal (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which was published in 2001 provides for the issue, sale and disposal of shares in An Post in the context of an employee share ownership plan, ESOP, and possible strategic alliance. The Bill also contains ancillary provisions arising out of a possible change of ownership.

The financial and industrial relations environment in An Post has changed substantially since 2001. Following operational losses of almost €43 million in 2003, the An Post board approved a recovery strategy for the company. The implementation of the recovery strategy is contingent on agreement with the trades unions to radical restructuring. Negotiations have been ongoing with the trades unions for over a year now and critical aspects will shortly be moving to the Labour Court for final determination.

With the IR situation in An Post at a delicate and critical stage, it would seem prudent to defer consideration of the issues provided for in the Bill until a resolution is found to the IR issues. For this reason, a decision has been taken, in conjunction with the Chief Whip, to withdraw the Bill from the Dáil Order Paper.

Question No. 124 answered with Question No. 118.

  125. Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his views on the proposed introduction of postcodes to the whole of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3603/05]

  Mr. N. Dempsey: I am favourably disposed towards the introduction of postcodes because of the case made that a national postcode system would offer significant potential benefits for the postal business, for public utilities, for business and for consumers. Since coming to office I have directed that a full examination of the issue be progressed and my final decision will be based on this examination.

The Commission for Communications Regulation, whose remit includes postal issues, produced a report just recently which followed a consultative process held in November 2003. The report is broadly favourable to the introduction of a postcode system and is a useful contribution to the debate on the issue. My Department is at present examining the matter in conjunction with a small working group comprising representatives from An Post, the Commission for Communications Regulation, private postal operators and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. That group will report to me by the end of March and I will then be in a position to decide on what further action is needed on the postcode issue.

Question No. 126 answered with Question No. 97.