GOLEEN’S postal service is hanging by a thread, according to Independent TD Michael Collins.
The post mistress Breda Buckley was due to retire at the end of May, but Michael Collins said she is holding on until a successor can be found.
But finding a replacement is looking increasingly difficult, he added.
The TD confirmed, at a public meeting in Goleen on Saturday night, that a person who proposed to take over the post office has pulled out – or ‘paused’ – saying it is not viable.
He said a second interested party contacted An Post, but she, too, didn’t follow through because – after looking at the numbers – she believed it wasn’t a viable option due to rental costs, wages and the low level of remuneration from the contract with An Post.
Tom O’Callaghan, chairman of the Irish Postmasters’ Union, attended the meeting. He said he was fiercely protective of the rural way of life.
He said his post office in Limerick earned €63 in one month for the ‘new’ banking services and he compared that figure with the €1.3bn profit made by Bank of Ireland last year.
With 50 people, including public representatives and locals, in attendance at the meeting in the community centre, Mr O’Callaghan told them there are 900 post offices nationwide and that as many as 200 are likely to close in the next two years.
In January, the service on the Mizen was dealt a blow when the sorting of mail – a tradition that goes back to the founding of the State – ceased at three Mizen post offices, namely Schull, Ballydehob and Goleen.
The loss of the sorting facility resulted in an estimated 25% reduction in the salaries of two postmistresses and a postmaster in the area.
Now, with the very future of the Goleen Post Office under threat, Deputy Collins described the situation on the Mizen as ‘a crisis.’
‘We are fighting to retain this post office,’ he said.
‘And I am calling on An Post to respond to a third interested party who made contact with me at the weekend.
‘I sent An Post an email and a text and I was told they would look after it, but when I asked that woman if she had received a reply from An Post she told me she had not,’ said Michael Collins, who thanked Breda Buckley for keeping the service going.
‘It’s a selfless act that is very much appreciated,’ he said.
The Southern Star contacted An Post for a comment.
‘People come forward and express an interest, then make their own decision on whether to proceed or not,’ said the spokesperson.
‘An Post is still working to find a contractor to provide post office services to Goleen,’ he said.
However, he added: ‘Our efforts continue but the permanent closure of the post office in Goleen remains a very real possibility unless a candidate emerges.’