I fully support the protest by the Postmasters this week as they have decided to hand back the forms issued by the Department of Special Protection which asks claimants to switch to electronic payments for their social welfare entitlements. In fact it appears to be Government policy that all payments be electronic by 2018. Hundreds of jobs will be lost around the country if this goes ahead and it flies in the face of the many statements that we have heard from Government representatives supporting the development of rural Ireland. It is scarcely believable that Postmasters are being asked to hand out forms that will directly affect their own livelihoods. The Government promised to address this issue some months ago but nothing has been done and I have been highlighting this matter since I got elected and will continue to support the retention of the rural post offices that we have left. We have to secure the future of local rural post offices as they are an important part of the fabric of every local community.
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