AN Post has defended its decision to close the Little Island mail centre, insisting it was the best option based on all factors.
David McRedmond, Chief Executive of An Post, was before the Oireachtas communications committee yesterday, where he said the closure followed an 18-month assessment period of all options.
Little Island was chosen for two predominant reasons, according to Mr McRedmond.
Firstly, he said the An Post letter delivery service needs to operate on a next day basis and, as the road infrastructure in Munster is better than elsewhere in the country, Mr McRedmond said it was more viable to close Cork than a centre in the Midlands.
Secondly, due to the growing economy in Cork, there was more opportunity for staff redeployment.
Managing Director of An Post, Garrett Bridgeman stressed that any staff member who is redeployed is on the same terms and conditions as they were previously.
He also stated that there was voluntary redundancy made available to all affected staff members and the company has seen a good uptake on this.
Debbie Byrne, Managing Director of An Post Retail, identified the closure of the 152 post offices last year as “a painful process” but one that was necessary to rejuvenate the network.
Cork North Central TD Mick Barry said An Post's position went against the government's desire to reduce emissions.
Mr Barry said that a letter posted in West Cork for a location nearer Cork city will now be transported to Athlone or Portlaoise to be sorted before being transported back down all the way by diesel truck rather than being sorted in Cork and delivered a few miles away.
Deputy Barry said: “The Government announced their climate strategy before the summer with promises to cut carbon emissions across all Government departments. It’s pretty clear that An Post didn’t pay too much heed to this before they made the decision to shut the Cork Mails Centre.”