THE recent closure of the post office and shop in Killnamartyra, which had been in the Murphy family for 136 years, has been described as a ‘big loss’ to the Gaeltacht village.
The shutters came down on the post office and shop after postmistress Bernie Murphy retired after 29 years serving the locals and visitors. This now means that there is no shop in the village.
Friends, neighbours, customers and representatives from An Post gathered outside the post office on what was Bernie’s last day on July 22nd to wish her all the best in her retirement and to thank her for her years of dedicated service to the local community.
Her family’s connection to the post office can be traced back to 1886 when her great grandfather Con O’Riordan was appointed sub-postmaster, when the first sub-post office was set up in the village.
Bernie then took over the running of the post office in 1993, following the death of her mum, Agnes.
Speaking to The Southern Star, Fianna Fáil Cllr Gobnait Moynihan said that it’s a big loss for both the Gaeltacht villages and surrounds to lose a post office and a shop in one day. ‘I want to commend Bernie and all her family that came before her, who provided vital postal services for the community for so many years. It is greatly appreciated by all and will be missed.’
An Post confirmed that the post office closed on Friday July 22nd after postmistress Bernie Murphy said she wished to exit the business.
‘Services, including the Department of Social Protection payments were transferred to Renaniree Post Office with customers also having the option of accessing services at other post offices in the area, including Ballymakeera, Macroom and Inchigeelagh.’
Cork South West Independent TD Michael Collins said the closure will be a ‘huge blow’ to the area and said they experienced the pain of a post office closure in Goleen in the last few weeks and said we are witnessing the wipe-out of many businesses in rural Ireland. ‘I put it down mainly to government inactivity in the past few years as they made no effort to make post offices viable, no matter what plans were put before them, making sure they got little or no new business to increase foot flow to the post offices,’ said Deputy Collins
Former Goleen postmistress, Breda Buckley opted to stay on longer to facilitate a changeover after two parties expressed interest in taking over. However, no contracts were signed in the end forcing the post office to close, meaning locals have to now travel to Schull to access their nearest post office.