No certainty for smaller Post Offices.

The majority of TD's instead approved a government counter-motion which fell short of guaranteeing the survival of smaller post offices. 

South Tipp Independent Deputy Seamus Healy was among those who spoke out in support of the original motion.

The Dail's public gallery was packed with members of the Irish Postmasters' Union as the vote was held.

During the debate one Labour TD accused Fine Gael deputies of giving politicians' mobile numbers to angry postmasters.

Arthur Spring also warned his Fine Gael colleagues not to blame Labour for the falling use of post offices.