It is sad and indeed disheartening for people in rural areas to have successive governments continue to eliminate services to its inhabitants.
Next for the hammer and dead list are our post offices. Rural post offices should not be closed; their demise will only increase the depopulation of rural communities. People are unwilling to settle in an area where basic services, which are taken for granted, are absent.
The consequences of this trend are evident: in communities where postal services have been removed, small schools have closed, shops and other businesses have lost custom and in many instances, have closed down.
The fact that people have to move out of their own villages to collect their money means they spend it outside of their communities.
It seems that An Post is like a vulture; waiting for the death of the ageing postmistresses or postmaster in some rural communities. If any malpractice is detected in a post office, this is another opportunity for them to close a post office.
Postmistresses and postmasters are paid very little for the services they provide; the work they do is far beyond that for which they are paid.
They are the centre of their localities and distribute the news — good or bad. I appeal that these people be nurtured rather than decimated, as is the practice of An Post.
An Post seems to forget where it came from and where it is going.
Rural post offices should not be closed because they are the focal point of village life.
The post office is a hub, the centre and the heart of every community. It is a place where the elderly and lonely people meet and exchange views. A post office often gives an identity to a community.
For instance, it is reasonable to expect that a postmaster or postmistress who could have 50 to 80 old age pensioners collecting their pensions weekly would be the first to know if there was something wrong with any of them and this would have the effect of community neighbourhood watch.
I am calling on An Post and the Government to publish a new dynamic and imaginative visibility plan with the emphasis on viability and expansion for these offices rather than their destruction and dismantlement.
Cllr Noel Collins