It has been brought to my attention that letters are being sent out to old age pensioners urging them to change away from receiving their pension payments from their local post offices by the Department of Social Protection. The letters urge the pensioners to get their payments paid directly into their bank accounts and they enclose forms to be filled out by the pensioners to that effect.
I have also received correspondence from a local postmaster in Co Roscommon who has expressed understandable concern at this latest turn of events and he is worried about the viability of local Post Offices if this is the policy being operated by the Government.
We have the bizarre situation where the Government is making all sorts of statements on how they are supporting rural Ireland on the one hand, but they turn around and urge people not to support their own local Post Offices on the other. I will be raising this matter as soon as possible with the relevant Ministers Joan Burton and Alex White. The Post Office network is a cornerstone of rural life and instead of trying to run it down the Government should be thinking of ways to support and grow the network. This is not the way to go about it