"Digital Assist is a Government funded service offering unique access for people to Government websites and information in ten post offices across the country," stated Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten as he unveiled the first kiosk unit as part of the new 'Digital Assist' initiative today.
"With €80,000 in funding provided the pilot will see ten touch screen kiosks installed that will offer easy access to web based Government and local authority information and services. The specially designed units offer citizens the chance to navigate Government websites with the help of trained post office staff. In addition customers can print Government application forms and information brochures free of charge," added Minister Naughten.
An Post's 'Digital Assist' service will utilise local post offices for the delivery of Government services and advice. As part of the service post office staff will assist customers to access Government or local authority services, forms and information using the Digital Assist console or other post office facilities.
The first unit has been unveiled by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten TD in Co. Kildare. The unit is located at Ballymore Eustace post office which is located in Fogarty's Quikpick in the centre of the village.
The other nine post offices where Digital Assist is being piloted are Kanturk, Co. Cork, Carndonagh, Co. Donegal, Athenry, Co. Galway, Castleisland, Co. Kerry, Crossmolina, Co. Mayo, Newbliss, Co. Monaghan, Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon, Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo and Fethard on Sea, Co. Wexford.
Minister Naughten added, "Earlier this year I asked An Post to develop the concept of 'Digital Assist' whereby the Post Office would provide a gateway to online Government services for people. Government funding of €80,000 has been provided by the Minister for Community and Rural Development Michael Ring to help with rolling out the Digital Assist pilot scheme. The local Post Office is best placed to provide support for people who do not want to go online to carry out their day to day business. Representing the largest retail network in Ireland, the network of post offices is the obvious choice as the access point for citizens with its reach, trusted brand and existing strong relationship in our local communities."
An Post's MD Retail Debbie Byrne said Digital Assist was part of An Post's ongoing strategy of utilising the national post office network to provide a greater range of services including government and local authority advice and information. ''It makes sense to utilise the national post office network in this way. We are happy to be a trusted partner with Government in delivering this service to customers'.
Ballymore Eustace Postmaster Sean Fogarty said the service was a practical extension of the role that post offices had been filling over many years. ''Now we have an easy-to-use system for helping our customers. They will be able to navigate government websites and information without having to go any further than their local post office'', he says.
Angus Laverty, An Post Communications
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