Dáil Éireann - Volume 599 - 10 March, 2005
Written Answers. - Postal Services.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
70. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his most recent proposals for the future of An Post with particular reference to the need to retain the post office structure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8308/05]
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
123. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he has satisfied himself regarding the future of An Post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8532/05]
Mr. N. Dempsey Mr. N. Dempsey
Mr. N. Dempsey: I propose to take Questions Nos. 71 and 123 together.
There is agreement that change is required if the postal services of an Post are to adapt to a changing environment and continue to offer a good service to the customer into the future. To  progress the change agenda, an exhaustive process of negotiation between An Post management and An Post trades unions has taken place over the last year. While negotiations between company management and the Communications Workers Union, under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, were ongoing for most of 2004, they have yet to be brought to a successful conclusion despite much useful work.
To keep up the momentum of the process and in an effort to resolve all remaining difficulties, outstanding issues on collection and delivery arrangements are being dealt with in the Labour Court with a view to agreeing a way forward through the implementation of a recovery strategy aimed at returning the company to a secure financial footing. The challenge is for both sides to redouble their efforts to agree to put in place and manage the changes necessary to allow An Post to thrive in an increasingly competitive market. Their efforts will have the support and assistance of the State’s industrial relations machinery.
The Government and board of An Post are committed to the objective of securing a viable and sustainable nationwide post office network as set out in the programme for Government. I have met with the Irish Postmasters Union and listened with interest to its views on the future development of the network. My officials are in regular contact with the management of An Post to assist with securing and developing our post office services. The post office network has been the subject of a number of studies and reviews in recent years. Many of the recommendations arising from these reviews have been implemented with particular regard to winning new business, including extra banking and new utility transactions.
There is widespread recognition that the best strategy to sustain the network is for An Post to continue adapting to customer needs within the financial constraints in which it now finds itself. I have asked the Irish Postmasters Union and An Post to work in partnership to maximise their efforts to secure existing business and pursue new business at every available opportunity.
Dáil Éireann 599 Written Answers. Postal Services.