Post of­fices ‘the heart of vil­lages’

Fingal Independent - - NEWS - By JOHN MAN­NING

FIN­GAL’S more rural post of­fices are un­der threat from fall­ing busi­ness and a re­ported plan to close 400 rural of­fices around the coun­try and are back­ing the Post­mas­ters’ Union’s re­jec­tion of a new con­tract from An Post that they say fails to recog­nise the ‘so­cial value’ of the post of­fice.

Linda Neary runs Lusk post of­fice and is an ac­tive mem­ber of the union and sup­ports the re­jec­tion of the new con­tract.

She told the Fin­gal In­de­pen­dent: ‘ The post of­fice is at the heart of the vil­lage and at the heart of the com­mu­nity and that so­cial as­poect of the post of­fice is re­ally vi­tal to this com­mu­nity and ev­ery com­mu­nity.’

Ms Neary said that there are peo­ple in the vil­lage who only meet at the Post Of­fice, par­tic­u­larly as the nights draw in and peo­ple tend to spend more time in the evening at home.

Fin­gal post­mas­ters are now wait­ing on An Post to re­spond to their re­jec­tion of the new con­tract to see what the next step in the dis­pute will be and Ms Neary said she hopes the im­passe will not re­sult in demon­stra­tions. ‘We just want to be able to serve the com­mu­nity and we don’t want to have to take to the streets over this,’ she said.

She called on peo­ple all over Fin­gal to sup­port their lo­cal post of­fice and called on the Gov­ern­ment to in­ter­vene in the broader is­sue of keep­ing rural post of­fices open.

An Post and the Post­mas­ters’ Union have at least reached agree­ment on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a new ‘ smart’ bank ac­count at post of­fices and the Lusk post­mistress said she is wait­ing to be trained in on that sys­tem and is pre­pared to take on more ser­vices.

Ms Neary is hop­ing for some ‘res­o­lu­tion’ that will mean that rural post of­fices not only sur­vive but thrive.

Mar­gins are tight in the busi­ness and Ms Neary said that she, along with most post­mas­ters took a ma­jor cut in their wage last year, out of which all the over­heads of run­ning the post of­fice have to be paid. The 400 re­ported post of­fices slated to be closed have not been re­vealed and An Post con­tinue to deny there is a fixed num­ber of of­fices sched­uled to be closed.

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