PLANS by An Post to offer postal services like parcel pick-up and collection locations to retail shops will ‘wipe out’ post offices, according to one West Cork post mistress.
Bridie Roycroft of Ballydehob Post Office, who is also chairperson of the southern region of the Irish Postmasters Union, told The Southern Star that what An Post is planning is both alarming and insulting for all post offices.
An Post has in recent weeks sent out letters to retail shops about offering this service, and successful stores would also be able to offer the full range of Postpoint services including stamp sales and the payment of household bills.
‘If they are going to do this they are going to wipe out all the small post offices around the country.
‘We would be doing all the heavy work and losing out on the vital scans which we get paid for as we couldn’t survive on the basic salary,’ said Bridie, who has worked in Ballydehob Post Office for 41 years, and is post mistress since 2007.
‘If they started offering these services into my local shop I’d be destroyed.
Thankfully,’ added Bridie, ‘my local Gala shop hasn’t been asked and won’t be taking up the offer as it would be the death of the village.’
Bridie said that post offices need the full business and added that they also need to be appreciated by An Post bosses.
‘There seems to be no appreciation from them for the work that we do and this is being highlighted by the fact they plan to take away half our business.
‘We love our jobs and love serving our communities. We provide a certain amount of social services and we do it willingly and with care, but we also need to make a good living.’
Bridie said they had been extremely busy throughout Covid with large volumes of letters and parcels going through the post offices.
‘It’s super and we are all thrilled to be so busy and then An Post announce this. I’m not under threat but other post offices in West Cork may well be.’
Breda Buckley of Goleen Post Office said An Post are literally giving away their business by offering this service to retail stores.
‘I’m very lucky that my neighbour has no intention of taking up the offer from An Post.
‘An Post had promised postmasters that they would develop and boost post offices instead of diluting them and this seems like a big departure,’ said Breda.
Senator Tim Lombard described the move by An Post as ‘death by a thousand cuts.’
‘I’ve one postmaster and a shop owner on to me and literally at the gable end wall of the post office is a shop in a small rural village.
‘The shop will not be taking up the service as it doesn’t want to undermine their neighbour and loyal friend.’
A spokesperson for An Post insisted this was a ‘good news story’ adding that successful stores will become ‘Postpoint agents’ and customers will be able to return and collect their online purchases through the store.
An Post says services for the Department of Social Protection will not be offered in retail stores.