BAT­TLE IS ON TO SAVE GLEN­CAR POST OF­FICE

FEARS OVER FU­TURE OF GLEN­CAR POST OF­FICE AS AN POST IS­SUES UL­TI­MA­TUM

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHEN FERNANE

LO­CALS have re­sponded fu­ri­ously af­ter An Post sig­nalled that Glen­car Post Of­fice could face clo­sure.

Glen­car Post Of­fice is si­t­u­ated in one of the most re­mote parts of the county and its clo­sure would se­ri­ously hit the lo­cal­ity’s el­derly pop­u­la­tion who rely heav­ily on it for ser­vices.

The post of­fice was pre­vi­ously run by the late Sheila O’Sul­li­van whose fam­ily want to con­tinue the ser­vice. But this de­pends on whether An Post deems it com­mer­cially vi­able.

Mary O’Sul­li­van, who now runs the post of­fice along with her son Michael, wants An Post to think again about shut­ting down a vi­tal part of com­mu­nity life.

“To close it would make life very awk­ward for peo­ple so we’re de­ter­mined to fight any de­ci­sion to close it,” Mary said.

The Glen­car com­mu­nity have vowed to re­sist the threat of clo­sure and have or­gan­ised a pub­lic meet­ing for Fri­day, Fe­bru­ary 16, in Glen­car Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

‘WE’LL fight this move’ is the strong mes­sage from the O’Sul­li­van fam­ily af­ter Glen­car Post Of­fice was given an ul­ti­ma­tum to prove why it should not close for good.

The con­tro­versy stems from the re­cent pass­ing of pop­u­lar Post Mistress Sheila O’Sul­li­van, who pro­vided an es­sen­tial ser­vice to the lo­cal­ity for 16-years and whose fam­ily now want to keep the post of­fice open.

But when Mary O’Sul­li­van (Sheila’s sis­ter-in­law) con­tacted An Post in­form­ing them of Sheila’s death, she was told that the na­tional postal ser­vice was as­sess­ing whether or not it was still vi­able to keep the ru­ral post of­fice open.

The O’Sul­li­van fam­ily now has un­til the end of Fe­bru­ary to make a case as to why the Post Of­fice should not be closed as part of the semi-state com­pany’s plans to stream­line the Post Of­fice net­work.

“All this arose when Sheila passed away and the fam­ily de­cided to keep it open,” ex­plained Mary, who cur­rently runs the Post Of­fice along­side her son Michael.

“It just seemed like Sheila’s death played into An Post’s bar­row. But we urge them to re­con­sider their po­si­tion as this is a vi­tal part of the com­mu­nity.

An Post says it is cur­rently un­der­go­ing a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion which will end on Fe­bru­ary 23 and this will ul­ti­mately in­form their de­ci­sion, but the O’Sul­li­van fam­ily and lo­cal res­i­dents fear the worst as post of­fices con­tinue to close across the coun­try.

The com­mu­nity will gather this Fri­day evening, Fe­bru­ary 16, at 8pm in the Glen­car Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in a show of sup­port for their lo­cal Post Of­fice.

“We have a large el­derly pop­u­la­tion in the area who rely on the con­ve­nience of Glen­car Post Of­fice for pen­sions and when do­ing other busi­ness. To close it would make life very awk­ward for peo­ple, so we’re de­ter­mined to fight any plans to close it. We’ve had huge sup­port from the com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing from lo­cal coun­cil­lors and TDs who recog­nise this is an at­tack on ru­ral life,” Mary added.

The is­sue was raised in the Dáil last week by FF Deputy John Bras­sil who de­scribed the pro­posed clo­sure as a con­tra­dic­tion in Govern­ment pol­icy.

“The Govern­ment claims to be work­ing to­wards ad­vanc­ing eco­nomic and so­cial progress by cre­at­ing jobs and pro­mot­ing ru­ral de­vel­op­ment, one of the pro­pos­als is to en­sure the vi­a­bil­ity of our post of­fice net­work but try­ing to close Glen­car Post Of­fice flies in the face of this pol­icy,” he said.

FF Cllr Norma Mo­ri­arty said the po­ten­tial clo­sure of the ser­vice is a symp­tom of a wider prob­lem that ex­ists un­der the Na­tional Plan­ning Frame­work and a lack of un­der­stand­ing by cen­tral govern­ment to­wards ru­ral life and cul­ture.

“The dis­persed pop­u­la­tion of the area is well served by this post of­fice and, as a busi­ness model, it is vi­able so long as they take the di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of the busi­ness into con­sid­er­a­tion. Glen­car Post Of­fice also has a strong tourist ele­ment with strong pass­ing trade which can be tapped into,” said Cllr Mo­ri­arty.

The Water­ville based coun­cil­lor be­lieves there are cer­tain so­cial en­ter­prises that must be sub­sidised in or­der for a ru­ral so­ci­ety to ex­ist, of which Glen­car Post Of­fice is one ex­am­ple. She also stressed that through de­cent govern­ment pol­icy, a de­cline in ru­ral pop­u­la­tion can be ar­rested with the en­hance­ment of ru­ral ser­vices.

“This is what we will be fo­cus­ing on at Fri­day’s meet­ing and I’m con­vinced this is a bat­tle we can win. The late Sheila was an in­te­gral part of the com­mu­nity and this is al­ready a dif­fi­cult time for her fam­ily,” Cllr Mo­ri­arty added.

FF Coun­cil­lor Cahill said doubt of the fu­ture of the ser­vice was ‘very in­sen­si­tive’ so soon af­ter the pass­ing of Sheila. “It re­ally beg­gars be­lief the ac­tions of An Post in this case,” said Cllr Cahill.

“The par­ish is very iso­lated with houses dis­persed and you are a long dis­tance from the near­est town. There is also an onus on the res­i­dents of Glen­car to utilise the ser­vices of­fered by the Post Of­fice as this will also help in the cam­paign to keep it open,” he added.

Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin

Mary and Ger­ald O’Sul­li­van, Post­man Pat O’Shea and Cllr Norma Mo­ri­arty (left) in Glen­car Post Of­fice on Tues­day.

SEE PAGE 4

Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin

Mary and Ger­ald O’Sul­li­van of Glen­vcar Post Of­fice with Vin­cent O’Shea, Flor­rie O’Sul­li­van, Cllr Michael Cahill, Nora O’Ma­hony, Nora Fo­ley, Breda Breen, Brid­get Fo­ley, Cllr Norma Mo­ri­arty, Mau­reen Gar­rtry (bacK) Bernard Vroom, Dan Fo­ley, Tim O’Shea, Paul Quirke, Johnny Fo­ley and Post­man Pat O’Shea at Glen­car Post Of­fice on Tues­day.

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