The latest application form for the Old Age Pension includes a section where the applicant has to fill in all their bank details. The form states that “the Department recommends that the payment be made direct to your current, deposit, or savings account at a financial institution. This is the best payment option for you”………… We have heard many statements from Government politicians in the past couple of years supporting the position of rural post offices, however this latest application form shows that such statements are only empty rhetoric. In fact here we have the Department of Social Protection actually promoting the direct payment of pensions and other payments into banks and other financial institutions which will take more business away from our local post offices. If the Government want to close all our local rural post offices then they should come out and say so. There is not much point supporting the post offices one day and the next day propose that business be taken away from them. I don’t have to explain how important the local post office is to many local communities in rural Ireland. Either the Government is serious about supporting rural post offices or it it’s not. This is not the first time that this has happened in the past couple of years and at best the Government is talking out of both sides of it’s mouth on this issue.