A “do-or-die’’ campaign has been launched in Kerry to save the county’s 58 rural post offices.
Communities are being urged by the Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) to support their local post offices and to oppose An Post plans to develop an alternative network with Tesco.
More than 100 people, including community activists, attended a meeting on the issue in Tralee earlier this week which heard the loss of cash pension payments and social welfare benefits would spell the end of many small post offices. An IPU meeting was also held in Ennis, Co Clare, last night.
Long-serving local postmaster Seamus McCarthy, from Gneeveguilla, on the Cork/Kerry border, said while post offices had come under threat in the past the network was now facing its most serious threat.
“If the proposals are allowed go ahead, it will result in mass closure of post offices and will add to the decline of rural villages as yet another important services will be taken away,’’ he said. “The proposed alternative network is in direct contravention of the Government’s commitment to sustain the existing post office network under its programme for government.
“This is a do-or-die campaign and could well be the final battle to save around 600 post offices across the country,’’ he added.
Nora O’Connor, Ballyduff post office, in north Kerry, said if business is taken away post offices will be forced to close. “All local businesses will be affected, not just post offices.,’’ she claimed.
The postmasters are also lobbying politicians and members of the Technical Group in the Dáil have put down a motion due to be considered next week.
The motion calls on the Government to honour its commitment to the post office network and to produce a comprehensive plan setting out measures to deliver on that commitment.
Postmasters are due to assemble outside the Dáil on Thursday, when a vote is expected on the motion.
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