Dáil Éireann - Volume 625 - 19 October, 2006
Written Answers. - Postal Services.
Mr. Gilmore Mr. Gilmore
Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the details of the recent deal between a company (details supplied) and An Post; if the ongoing lack of automation for a significant amount of post offices here has the potential to affect the effective operation of the new financial services the deal should facilitate, particularly in some rural and sub-post offices; when he will publish a strategy for the post office network; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33404/06]
Mr. N. Dempsey Mr. N. Dempsey
Mr. N. Dempsey: It was to this end that the Government recently gave its approval for An Post to enter into a joint venture agreement with Belgian Bank, Fortis to set up a retail banking business. This will entail the provision of a range of financial services operated through the post office branch network, using the An Post brand and other An Post assets. Key to the Government approval of this joint venture was that it not only offers a real opportunity for the growth and development of An Post and the post office network but that it will, in time, greatly benefit the income streams of postmasters.
In regard to the automation of the network, there are currently 386 non-automated post offices in the country which account for just over 2% of the current business of the network. The company has recently completed a pilot project  in which ten smaller post offices were fully automated. It is intended to evaluate the business generated and the income gains in these newly automated offices, in order to see if there is a justified commercial case for further automation of non-automated offices. While merchandising of joint venture products will be available throughout the network, servicing of certain products will not be available at the non-automated offices. However, given the relatively low level of business conducted at these offices, the company does not envisage that the operation of the joint venture will be adversely affected by the non-automation of the entire network.
Question No. 72 answered with Question No. 44.
Dáil Éireann 625 Written Answers. Postal Services.