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Councillor PJ Kelly has called for references to 'in-fill sites' to be removed from the Draft Clare County Development Plan 2023-2029.

Clare councillors back community banking for post offices

AT the monthly meeting of Clare County Council the local authority endorsed proposals from the Independent Post Masters Group, which would see community banking rolled out across the An Post network of post offices.

Fianna Fáil’s PJ Kelly sought the backing of the members, saying that community banking in post offices has already been rolled out in other countries.

“I’m not saying that the post office of yesterday or the post office of today should be the post office of tomorrow. No. The future post office will have to be a totally different item. It will have to be a community post office integrated with other services.

“In recent times we’ve seen post offices in big shops and so on and so forth, a wonderful solution, but this goes further. It references something that is a success in other countries, community banking, in Germany and in New Zealand.”

He said that under the community banking model in other countries, people repaying a €250,000 mortgage have seen their overall repayments drop by €100,000.

“Every parish that has a suitable community or shopping centre should have its own bank, where people would pay their bills, lodge their money, withdraw their money and do a lot of other items of business,” he added.

Councillor Kelly said that An Post management have deliberately run down the network of post offices.

“When semi-state bodies are set up we are told they are responsible to the Minister. I’m afraid many ministers who were supposed to be in charge of An Post failed.

“An Post closed post offices in places where they were viable, take my own parish, take Ballyea and Darragh, they closed them where they were actually viable without offering a chance to someone to do something else.”

Several other councillors spoke in favour of the proposals, stressing the importance of people having an in-person option of doing their business rather than online solely, and the social importance of post offices.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.