WEST Cork will account for half of Co Cork’s post office closures announced by An Post this week.
Six of the 12 post offices marked for closure in Co Cork are in West Cork: Allihies, Ballineen, Carrigadrohid and Drinagh, while Desertserges and Minane Bridge are also on the list, although both already closed, earlier this month.
This now brings to 128 the total number of post offices operating in Cork, down from a figure of 140.
An Post says all of the offices set to close are within at least 15km of one other post office. However, some members of the public have queried the distance of 10.9km given by An Post as being between Allihies and Eyeries, when the actual distance is closer to 16km, and therefore higher than An Post’s assurance that the nearest post office would be no further than 15km away.
Debbie Byrne, managing director of An Post Retail, paid tribute to the postmasters who had chosen to retire ‘for their great service to the company and to local communities’ over many years.
‘We fully acknowledge that this process will be difficult for some customers and communities, but the end result will be a strengthened, viable post office network serving the needs of our country for the future,’ she said.
Meanwhile, Ballydehob postmistress Bridie Roycroft, who declined to take the redundancy package and kept the village post office open with the great support of her local community, has said that her post office has been downgraded to ‘Grade B’.
This means she won’t now be getting the new services promised by An Post for other post offices.
‘It’s frustrating, because I’ve worked really hard to keep the business up and running, but because of the downgrade I won’t have the same ability to grow my business,’ Bridie told The Southern Star.
Cork South West Fianna Fáil TD Margaret Murphy O’Mahony said she was saddened to hear of the closure of four post offices in her constituency.
‘It’s an attack on rural Ireland and the Government must realise that there is life outside of Dublin. There closures will also have a detrimental effect on the economy in these areas,’ said Deputy Murphy O’Mahony.
Independent TD Michael Collins said he was in shock at the decision and called on An Post to reverse these closures immediately.
‘With this stroke of a pen, An Post has caused a lot of concern and anxiety for many elderly people, especially those living in isolated areas. It seems to me that the people of rural Ireland are under continuous attack, losing services and other amenities at a shocking level,’ he said.