525. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on reports in the media (details supplied) which report 400 post office closures throughout the country; his plans regarding same; if an assurance can be given to postmasters on this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42234/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 525 and 528 together. 
I refer to the reply to Question No 22 of 4 October and to the topical issues debate on post offices in the House on the same date.
It is Government policy that An Post remains a strong, viable company in a position to provide a high quality, nationwide postal service and that it maintains a nationwide customer-focused network of post offices in the commun...

528. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the outstanding recommendations of the post office network business development group; the estimated cost of implementing all recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42337/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 525 and 528 together. 
I refer to the reply to Question No 22 of 4 October and to the topical issues debate on post offices in the House on the same date.
It is Government policy that An Post remains a strong, viable company in a position to provide a high quality, nationwide postal service and that it maintains a nationwide customer-focused network of post offices in the commun...

22. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to address concerns that wholesale closures of post offices are imminent; his further plans for the post office network; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42100/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Post Office Network)

Deputy Timmy Dooley: A procurement process has been under way for some time around the national broadband plan. The national broadband plan has been in the offing since 2012. At this stage, could the Minister give us some indication as to the date on which every premises in the country will be connected and can he give us some idea of a date when, or even within a range within which, the contractor might begin work on the roll-out of the plan?
 ...

62. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on changes with An Post, both retail and mail businesses; and the steps he plans to take in the coming months to ensure that services are protected. (Question 41833/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 81 together.
As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I am responsible for the postal sector including the governance of An Post to ensure that the company is fully compliant with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies and the governance functions included in the statutory framework underpinning An Post.  Operational matters relating...

81. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to address concerns that wholesale closures of post offices are imminent; his further plans for the post office network; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41898/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 62 and 81 together.
As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I am responsible for the postal sector including the governance of An Post to ensure that the company is fully compliant with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies and the governance functions included in the statutory framework underpinning An Post.  Operational matters relating...

183. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the way in which his Department plans to invest in the post office network to secure local access to services in both urban and rural communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39926/17 asked on 21 Sep 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 to 185, inclusive, together.
As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I am responsible for the postal sector, including the governance of An Post to ensure that the company is fully compliant with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State bodies and the governance functions included in the statutory framework underpinning An Post.  Operational ma...

184. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will liaise with the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to prevent the promotion of commercial banks by his Department to the detriment of the post office network; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39927/17 asked on 21 Sep 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 to 185, inclusive, together.
As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I am responsible for the postal sector, including the governance of An Post to ensure that the company is fully compliant with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State bodies and the governance functions included in the statutory framework underpinning An Post.  Operational ma...

185. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when he plans to authorise the implementation of the government services identified in a report (details supplied) through the post office network; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39928/17 asked on 21 Sep 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 to 185, inclusive, together.
As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I am responsible for the postal sector, including the governance of An Post to ensure that the company is fully compliant with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State bodies and the governance functions included in the statutory framework underpinning An Post.  Operational ma...

676. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if his attention has been drawn to a matter (details supplied) that could impact on the survival of rural post offices; his plans to address this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39673/17 asked on 20 Sep 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): This matter is not within my remit. The organisation referred to by the Deputy is a statutory body under the remit of the Minister for Education and Skills.
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment is responsible for policy matters related to An Post.
 ...

1700. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development his plans to facilitate a greater share of the banking market here by post offices through the facilitation of a community banking service comparable to a model (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37620/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): The programme for a Partnership Government envisaged that An Post, the Irish League of Credit Unions and other interested stakeholders would be asked to investigate and propose a new model of community banking, based on overseas models, which could potentially be delivered, inter alia, through the post office network.
My officials have been working actively with the Department of Finance over the last number of months to progres...

1289. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the measures he is taking to increase work for the post office network in order to assist it in remaining viable; his negotiations on this to date in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35473/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I have responsibility for the postal sector, including the governance of An Post, to ensure the company is fully compliant with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies and the governance functions included in the statutory framework underpinning An Post.
Operational matters and the role of developing commercial strategies for An Post...

1304. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his response to the Irish Postmasters Union withdrawing from negotiations on the future of the post office network; the way in which he plans to secure the future of the post office network going forward; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36045/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): As Minister, I am disappointed that the negotiations between the IPU and An Post have broken down as I had been hopeful that progress could be made by both parties. The An Post Group lost €13.7 million in 2016 with the core mails business losing over €30m. The financials reflect the fact that An Post has entered a period of long term structural decline in its mails business mainly due to the impact of e-substi...

642. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans and timeframe to implement the report of the post office hub working group; when he expects An Post to present its strategy for the future of the An Post network following its fundamental review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32800/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I have responsibility for the postal sector, including the governance of An Post, to ensure the company is fully compliant with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies and the governance functions included in the statutory framework underpinning An Post.
Operational matters and the role of developing commercial strategies for the pos...

649. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans for the future of the An Post network. (Question 32901/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): As Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, I have responsibility for the postal sector, including the governance of An Post, to ensure the company is fully compliant with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies and the governance functions included in the statutory framework underpinning An Post.
Operational matters and the role of developing commercial strategies for the pos...

146. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs when her new Department is operational, the remit she will have for the post office network and regarding the implementation of a report (details supplied). (Question 31957/17 asked on 06 Jul 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Programme for a Partnership Government made a number of commitments in relation to the Post Office network which were assigned to my Department. The commitments in question have now been completed or are significantly advanced.
The report referred to by the Deputy was prepared on behalf of An Post and was presented to the company’s management in December 2016. It is a matter for the Board and man...

54. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the position regarding changes with An Post retail and mail businesses in the context of the retention of the universal social obligation. (Question 30081/17 asked on 27 Jun 2017 - Post Office Network)

Deputy Brian Stanley: My question relates to the uncertainty around the survival of our post office network and the mail distribution network, comprising four mail centres. What are the options for the survival of the post office network and the mail centres? We have had the Kerr and the McKinsey reports. What has happened to the former report? Two years or more were spent on that but we are in the dark in terms of what is happening with it. Those who work in the industry and the public are...

57. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans for the post office network; if he has sought a report from the chief executive officer of An Post on the future of the post office network across the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 29936/17 asked on 27 Jun 2017 - Post Office Network)

Deputy Brian Stanley: My question relates to the uncertainty around the survival of our post office network and the mail distribution network, comprising four mail centres. What are the options for the survival of the post office network and the mail centres? We have had the Kerr and the McKinsey reports. What has happened to the former report? Two years or more were spent on that but we are in the dark in terms of what is happening with it. Those who work in the industry and the public are...

62. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the progress made in implementing the recommendations of two reports (details supplied) on the future and reform of the post office network; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 29759/17 asked on 27 Jun 2017 - Post Office Network)

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Deputy Aylward has given permission to Deputy Niamh Smyth to introduce Question No. 62, which is in his name. Is it that agreed? Agreed.
 ...

61. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if she will report on her Department’s work with An Post and the Irish Postmasters’ Union regarding the implementation of point 20 of the Action Plan for Rural Development; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 27513/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Post Office Network)

Deputy Joan Burton: I congratulate Deputy Michael Ring on being appointed to his ministry. I recall a very heated debate not too long ago when the subject of who was responsible for the post offices at the Cabinet, at the level of Minister or Minister of State, exercised a particular passion on the part of the then Minister of State, Deputy Michael Ring, and the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Denis Naughten. Obviously, today’s question arises after some Cab...

942. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the steps she has undertaken to secure the rural post office network; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 27518/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Programme for a Partnership Government made a number of commitments in relation to the Post Office network which were assigned to my Department. The commitments in question have now been completed or are significantly advanced. 
Following an extensive deliberation process, I presented the final report of the Post Office Hub Working Group to Government in March. This report examined the potential fo...

950. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the way in which her Department plans to oversee and monitor the implementation of actions to support the post office network arising out of the report of the post office renewal board and the post office hub working group as outlined in point 20 of the action plan for rural development; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 27635/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Programme for a Partnership Government made a number of commitments in relation to the Post Office network which were assigned to my Department. The commitments in question have now been completed or are significantly advanced. 
Following an extensive deliberation process, I presented the final report of the Post Office Hub Working Group to Government in March. This report examined the potential fo...

1734. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if a reciprocal free post arrangement is in place between Ireland and China which provides free post from China to Ireland and from Ireland to China. (Question 26697/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Delivery of international mails between An Post and China Post is remunerated under the Terminal Dues rates element of the UPU Inter-Governmental Treaty, to which Ireland and China are parties.  The Government has appointed An Post as the designated Universal Service Provider in Ireland. There is no reciprocal free post arrangement in place between Ireland and China which provides free post from China to Ireland...

1773. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will request a report from An Post regarding the future of the post office and postal service in Howth town; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 27699/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Issues relating to the Post Office Network are an operational matter for the Board and management of An Post and not one in which I, as Minister, have any statutory function.  I have, however, forwarded your request to An Post and asked that they respond directly to you with the information sought.
 ...

598. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to implement the report of the post office hub working group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 24450/17 asked on 23 May 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 598 and 599 together. 
It is Government policy that An Post remains a strong, viable company in a position to provide a high quality, nationwide postal service and that it maintains a nationwide customer-focused network of post offices in the community. A fundamental review of An Post, including the post office network, which will identify the strategic changes and restructuring...

599. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans for additional measures to support the post office network; if post offices will be enabled to provide new and additional services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 24451/17 asked on 23 May 2017 - Post Office Network)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 598 and 599 together. 
It is Government policy that An Post remains a strong, viable company in a position to provide a high quality, nationwide postal service and that it maintains a nationwide customer-focused network of post offices in the community. A fundamental review of An Post, including the post office network, which will identify the strategic changes and restructuring...