An Post is being accused of giving false hope to a rural community after it rebranded a post office with new signage... just a week before it plans to permanently close the service, against the wishes of locals.
It is spending €5m on its nationwide rebranding and says it has fitted new signage at 500 post offices so far as part of the plans.
However, locals in Gurteen, Co Sligo, reacted angrily to the rebranding of their post office last Tuesday, as it is due to shut next Thursday, despite a campaign to save it from An Post’s consolidation plans.
Campaigners say the arrival of the signage fitters gave false hope their attempts to retain the service had succeeded.
Gerard Sherlock, spokesman for the Save Gurteen Post Office campaign group, said that the rebranding on Tuesday “went down badly” with locals.
“The whole thing is an insult to the community,” said Mr Sherlock. “When they first came to take down the signage, people thought they were closing the post office prematurely, and we were very annoyed at that. It was when we asked the fitters what was going on that we learned of the new signage. Some people thought the post office had been saved, but that’s not the case.”
Mr Sherlock said the community believes it meets An Post’s criteria for areas to retain their post office, but the company has refused to meet locals on the matter.
An Post refused to reveal how much it cost to rebrand Gurteen Post Office, and declined to say if it thinks refitting a post office just a week before it is due to close is good value for money.
“Post offices all over the country are currently being provided with An Post’s new look to support the transformation of the national post office network including logo and signage,” a statement read. “Gurteen, as a working post office, was fitted with the new collateral earlier this week as were other Sligo post offices.
“Gurteen is one of only two post offices in the country which remains to be closed as part of the recent consolidation process. All these offices closed by end of January before the rollout of An Posts new livery. The signage at Gurteen was part of a major nationwide logistical operation.”