The Communications Minister Denis Naughten has suggested that pensioners travelling to Aldi and Lidl for their groceries are to blame for the imminent closure of village post offices around the country.

Defending the controversial An Post plan to close 159 post offices, including 11 in Mayo and 18 in Co Galway, Minister Naughten said communities themselves had voted for it “with their own feet”.

He said local communities have bypassed some of those post offices, by going to the bigger towns and not using the local shop.

 

He told an Oireachtas Committee hearing yesterday that the entire post office network almost collapsed last year as it struggled to cope with mounting multimillion-euro losses.

Minister Naughten said An Post bosses had outlined a “very bleak future” and the “very real possibility” that the State-owned company could go bust.

He said the financial circumstances were so dire that immediate action was needed to ensure the survival of An Post and to protect thousands of jobs around the country.

 Fianna Fail claimed the closures will put an "intolerable burden" on many of the rural areas affected, but Denis Naughten said the consolidation plan removes uncertainty around Post Office closures....

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