BATTLE IS ON TO SAVE GLENCAR POST OFFICE
FEARS OVER FUTURE OF GLENCAR POST OFFICE AS AN POST ISSUES ULTIMATUM
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.
Mary and Gerald O’Sullivan, Postman Pat O’Shea and Cllr Norma Moriarty (left) in Glencar Post Office on Tuesday.
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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.