THE offer of a retirement package to the postmistress in Ballydehob was raised in the Dáil by Independent Deputy Michael Collins.
He said that in the past community banking and handling car tax were proposed as a major step to save the post offices. ‘More than two years later, in excess of 390 rural post offices throughout the country received letters from An Post, telling them that a drop in their income will be going ahead due to the sorting of mail and other things being taken from them,’ he said. ‘They were then offered a package to get out. One of these, among others, in West Cork, was the post office in Ballydehob, which, I may add, is one of the busiest post offices in West Cork due to hard-working Bridie, the postmistress.’
Deputy Collins said he had recently called to Bridie and the passion she showed in wanting to keep her door open to the community was astounding to say the least. ‘Over recent days, I have heard crocodile tears coming from Government deputies going to these postmasters and postmistresses when these same deputies have failed to implement the Programme for Government,’ he said.
‘Will the Taoiseach stand idly by and watch these post offices close? Will he give a date for when the post offices will become a one-stop shop for Government services as promised in the programme for Government?’
In reply, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said a pilot has started, or is about to start, using 10 post offices around the country to provide enhanced services. ‘With regard to the offer to the postmasters, that is a voluntary retirement scheme, allowing them to retire if they so wish,’ he said.
‘It is intended that where somebody retires as postmaster, that contract will be offered to others in the area if there is demand.’
Deputy says ‘women hurt’ by cervical smear scandal
AS the only female Oireachtas member in both Cork county and Cork city, Fianna Fail Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has said how she felt compelled to let the Government know how hurt and worried the women of Cork and Ireland are over the National Cervical Screening Programme.
‘I wish to put onto the record of the House how much I admire Vicky Phelan,” she said in the Dáil last week. ‘She is a strong woman and a very courageous woman. I send her my sincere best wishes.’