An Post has announced emergency arrangements to ensure social welfare payments can be made to people in East Cork after fire gutted the post office in Midleton overnight.
It said general post offices services will be available at Carrigtwohill and Castlemartyr post offices and that it is likely that all department of employment and social protection customers will be catered for at Castlemartyr post office.
Payments will be available there after midday today.
“Once we have dealt with the immediate aftermath of the fire and assess the damage done, we will begin the work of restoring full service to Midleton,” a spokesman said.
“Fortunately all our mails and parcels processing for the Midleton area is carried out at our delivery service unit at a separate location and not impacted by the fire.”
Members of the Moran family, who have owned the historic building for generations and run the post office service for years - the family ran a pub in the building for many before the town’s post office was relocated to their building - also visited the scene this morning to assess the damage.
The alarm was raised by a member of the public at around 1.30am this morning that a building on the town’s main street was on fire.
Fire crews from Midleton and Cobh rushed to the scene and spent several hours fighting the blaze.
The main road, which was closed during the incident, was reopened to traffic just before 9am.
Sinn Féin TD Pat Buckley said the structure has been completely gutted.
“Thankfully no-one was hurt but the building is gutted. There is huge damage,” he said.
“The emergency services deserve huge credit for preventing the fire from spreading to adjoining buildings, including a bank.
“But there is some water damage to adjoining buildings but hopefully that’s not too bad.”
He said he has been in contact already with An Post about the alternative arrangements and he urged the company to restore postal services in the town as quickly as possible.
Local county councillor Danielle Twomey said a town the size of Midleton needs a permanent post office.
“My first thoughts are with the Moran family who have provided a lifeline service to the community for years,” she said.
“A family has lost their premises and the community a lifeline service.”
Both Ms Twomey and Mr Buckley called on An Post to work quickly to restore a permanent post office in the town.
“We lost post offices in Cloyne, Ballynoe and Ballinacurra in recent years. Midleton Post Office serves a huge catchment area. We need a commitment from An Post that they will restore services in Midleton quickly,” Mr Buckley said.
Ms Twomey said the emergency arrangements for social welfare payments will not be sustainable in the long term, especially for elderly or vulnerable customers facing bus or rail travel to nearby post offices amid Covid restrictions.
Customer enquiries should be directed to An Post customer services online and/or webchat at www.anpost.com or by phoning 01- 705 7600.
A large overnight fire has occurred in Midleton, Co Cork, partly closing the main street of the town to early morning commuters.
A member of the public raised the alarm with emergency services shortly after 1.35am to a blaze developing near the town's post office.
Three units of the Cork County Fire Service, from Midleton and Cobh, were dispatched to the scene.
The units have managed to get the blaze under control but remain at the scene this morning.
AA Roadwatch reported that Main St (R907) was closed to traffic heading north through the town to early commuters, as emergency services continued to deal with the situation.
However, both lanes of the street were fully reopened at around 8am.