Big business 'has too much power'
A postmistress standing for election has claimed banks and big business have too much power in determining Irish society.
Seona O'Fegan, who runs Barna and Fr Griffin Road post offices in Galway, put her name on the ballot paper as part of the campaign to save the network by offering more government services, transactions and benefits.
She is one of eight candidates planning to stand on the same ticket.
"Banks, large corporates and the financial services sector have too much power in deciding what type of country we live in," she said.
"It is time for us people to get vocal about what we want for our communities and society. It is then the work of politicians to ensure that the interests of families and communities are rigorously protected and supported in all decisions that are made by government."
The Irish Postmasters' Union has claimed there are c oncerns that up to 557 post offices could close by 2017 as more social welfare payments are made electronically.
Ms O'Fegan accused successive governments of failing to see the value on the real experience of where people live and how they live.
She said part of her campaign is for stronger policy and more investment in areas that make communities vibrant - schools, health services, transport and jobs.
A report by business dragon Bobby Kerr for the Government last week said the post office network is seriously underutilised and called for new services to be brought into the network including the payment of welfare.
The post office candidates are standing as independents in the next general election and will not be aligned to any political party.
"Through my work as a postmistress, every day I listen to and discuss the concerns and needs of people," Ms O'Fegan.
"What I hear very strongly is a need for greater government support for vibrant communities, where people can access the essential services they require and can do their day-to-day business.
"A key part of maintaining and developing better services in communities is the post office as a front office for essential public and commercial services in villages, towns and cities where people can collect welfare, pay bills, do their financial transactions and carry out government or local authority business.
The campaign has claimed government policy is forcing people using state services and receiving benefits to deal with commercial banks.
Currently, approximately half of social protection payments are paid electronically and half at the counter, with government planning to have 97% electronic by the end of 2018.