RGDATA has called on An Post to disclose the arrangements it has made with Tesco Ireland to create new sub Post Office stores within its supermarkets. The retail representative organisation is concerned about the impact such a move could have on the postal services and retailers that currently offer the service in Irish towns and villages.
RGDATA Director General Tara Buckley said, "In a week when it was announced that An Post was awarded the new contract to deliver cash payments on behalf of the Department of Social Protection, there are increasing concerns that An Post has taken a decision to move away from Irish town and village centres through a new strategic link up with Tesco."
Buckley said that the post office is of huge importance to the vitality and viability of Irish town centres, and an assurance is needed from An Post that they remain committed to Irish towns and villages. “We need to know they are not engaged in a process of effectively outsourcing their post office services to a major UK multiple. We also need to see the nature of the agreement reached between An Post and Tesco."
RGDATA is concerned that having Tesco as An Post’s partner amounts to a strategic decision by the Government to de-prioritise postal service provision in small town centres. The group is asking for confirmation how the arrangement concluded with Tesco was addressed under public procurement practices.
Buckley highlighted that An Post is a sem-state company that is bound by public procurement protocols and as such must offer any commercial opportunities in an open and transparent manner. "We need an assurance that An Post complied with public procurement protocols in this case."
Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte is to address the Dáil tomorrow, when a government plan for the post office network is discussed. A recent study by the Irish Postmasters Union found that a third of post offices in rural areas could be at risk unless a plan is put in place to sustain rural outlets.
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson