The industry itself is regulated by the Commission for Communication Regulations (ComReg) which is the body appointed by the government to the national regulatory authority for the postal sector in Ireland. This was established under the Communications Regulation Act (2002). Under Section 12(1) of the Act, ComReg has a statutory objective to promote the development of the postal sector and in particular the availability of a Universal Postal Service within, to and from the State at an affordable price for the benefit of all users.
On the 1st January 2011 the Irish government transposed the third EU Postal Directive, which provided for the full market opening of the EU postal services. The CWU had expressed its serious reservations at the consequences of this Directive, as experience has shown that liberalisation has led to a reduction in services and a loss of jobs.
The main areas of concern related to the funding of the Universal Service Obligation and potential threat to pay and conditions of staff, which have been seriously challenged under full competition.
The introduction of full regulation without the correct funding of the Universal Service Obligation, which An Post is charged with maintaining under current legislation, poses a potential threat to the Irish sector. Equally, poorly or unfairly regulated competition, balanced against the main service provider will threaten the existing pay and conditions of An Post staff. The CWU has extensively lobbied to ensure that competition in the sector must be on a level playing field.