Post office closure fears as the price of a stamp rises to €1
"A significant number" of post offices are set to close as the cost of a stamp hits €1.
Head of An Post David McRedmond warned yesterday of a large number of job losses in the semi-state company.
There are now fears of large-scale closures from the 1,300 post offices in the company's network.
The news came as Mr McRedmond announced the price of stamps will go up from 72c to €1, a rise of almost 40pc and one of the sharpest increases in years.
It is the third rise in the price of postage stamps in the past two years.
Experts said the increase of 28c in the cost of sending a letter will further discourage people from using the postal system, pushing more to use email. An international stamp will rise from €1.10 to around €1.35, an increase of 23pc.
Business users on a typical bulk rate will see prices of stamps go up from 50c to 57c. Higher prices for postage are expected to be implemented from the middle of April.
Communications minster Denis Naughten defended the rise, saying TDs had voted to lift the price cap on stamps to help An Post become more viable.
"The purpose of the legislation is to protect the five-day delivery service," he said.
The move is being made despite mail volumes falling heavily. The latest annual report for An Post shows mail volumes fell by 35pc in 2015 from their peak in 2007.
Mr McRedmond warned that a large numbers of postal workers are set to be lose their jobs as a result of the downturn.
Rural groups have reacted with fury to the Government's recommendation that large numbers of post offices may have to close.
A group devising a future strategy for An Post, chaired by businessman Bobby Kerr, has said as many as 80 may be shutting their doors.
Mr McRedmond would not mention a number, but on the Today With Sean O'Rourke programme, said: "There will certainly be a significant number of closures. There are far too many of them."
He added that following the closures there will still be a large number of branches per head of population.
An Post is currently considering the report in conjunction with consultants McKinsey.
An Post's board will decide on it in the next few weeks with the emphasis on co-locating in supermarkets.