‘Centre of west Wicklow has been hollowed-out’ – Ruttle
NEWS that Donard Post Office looks set to close as part of the An Post local network downsizing has been met with much disappointment and local Councillor Jim Ruttle says that this move continues the ‘doughnut-ing’ or ‘hollowing out’ of west Wicklow.
‘It really is disappointing to hear this as there was a brilliant service provided there for many years. Not for one minute does anybody hold the operator responsible and everyone is entitled to their retirement, but with a bit of input from Government, the service itself could surely be retained,’ Cllr Ruttle outlined. He slammed the decision and expressed deep concern that it is like another nail in the coffin of rural Ireland.
‘The whole centre of west Wicklow has been hollowed out. It’s like a doughnut and this sends a very definite message to the people living here. Plenty of towns and villages have lost many shops but here is a viable service which could be built on and given some support to continue. The Government goes on about what it is doing for rural Ireland but nothing is happening here to change this situation which is seeing communities stripped of valuable services,’ he added.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil’s Pat Casey TD has said that if An Post’s plan is not blocked, rural Ireland will be left to ‘wither and die’.
‘Let me be clear. Post masters and mistresses who opt to take the redundancy package are absolutely entitled to do so. They have given years of fantastic service to their local communities. Rural Wicklow is being left to wither and die by Fine Gael and their independent friends,’ he said. Deputy Casey described the forced closures as a ‘body blow’ to small communities.
‘Many postmasters and postmistresses have been offered sweetheart delays to retire. These communities in Wicklow are not guaranteed that a replacement contract will be put out to tender. When a rural community sees its post office close, it can be a body blow to its sustainability and viability. I have experienced this first hand when Laragh Post Office closed. Despite credible business plans for an alternative service, An Post still have not even replied to our work on this,’ Deputy Casey said. He said that Post Offices are much more than commercial ventures and called for Government intervention on the matter.