By Carina McNally
ALLIHIES Post office closed its doors for the very last time.
The post office, which has been operating out of its current location since 1909, was the furthest post office in the country from Dublin.
To mark the historic occasion, postmistress Eily Kelly held a coffee morning on the premises.
Presenting her with a retirement gift, a handcrafted lamp made by the Allihies Men’s Shed, locals stated that they would really miss the post office but wished Eily every health and happiness long into the future.
Although a cheerful retirement occasion with well-wishers coming from near and far, Allihies residents said they were devastated by the closure and felt let down by political representation and the State. They said they felt abandoned and that the State appeared to have chosen corporate values over its obligation to support rural communities.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Rural Affairs commented that the decision to close individual post offices was ‘a matter for An Post.’ Villager Richie Hodges described the closure as ‘a disaster’ for the villagers.
Fianna Fáil TD Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony told an Oireachtas Committee that ‘the heart has been taken out of four communities’ in West Cork including Allihies, but pleas to keep the office open had failed.
One customer stated that the post office was the area’s ‘heart, a meeting point’.
‘Surely it could have been promoted as a service by the powers-that-be, rather than solely as a business?’ they wondered.
A third generation family business, it is only one of many post office closures resulting from An Post’s new business model.
The post office in Ballinskelligs, an equivalent community across the Kenmare Bay from Allihies on Iveragh, is facing a similar fate.