Coolgreany will fight to keep the post of­fice open

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS - By SARA GAHAN

MORE than 100 con­cerned mem­bers of Coolgreany com­mu­nity packed into the school hall to vent their anger at the clo­sure of Coolgreany Post Of­fice, which is one of 11 post of­fices be­ing closed across county Wex­ford.

Clos­ing the much-pop­u­lar premises would mean reg­u­lar post of­fice users would have to com­mute to con­duct their busi­ness through other of­fices in Bal­ly­fad, Ki­lanerin, Gorey, Ark­low or Avoca.

Post­mistress No­rah Finn, along with lo­cal coun­cil­lors Mal­colm Byrne, who chaired the meet­ing, Fion­ntan Ó Súil­leab­hain and Joe Sul­li­van, were among those who spoke of their de­sire to fight to main­tain the postal ser­vice in what is de­scribed as a vil­lage that is be­ing left to die. One com­mu­nity mem­ber said ‘the heart will be gone out of the com­mu­nity if the clo­sure goes ahead’.

The pub­lic meet­ing comes af­ter last week’s an­nounce­ment that Coolgreany, and Camolin, will no longer have a post of­fice in the next four months as part of a re­or­gan­i­sa­tion plan in­volv­ing the clo­sure of 159 vil­lage postal ser­vices around the coun­try. The post of­fices are set to close un­der the terms of a vol­un­tary re­dun­dancy pack­ages of­fered by An Post to post­mas­ters and post­mistresses.

No­rah, who has been post­mistress in Coolgreany for 13 years from a rented premises in Jim Short’s gro­cery shop, ex­plained her sit­u­a­tion to the people. No­rah felt she had no other choice but to ac­cept the pack­age from An Post.

‘I stressed to ev­ery­one about how it would cost me more to move premises,’ said No­rah. ‘I don’t know if we can change An Post mind on this.’

No­rah has al­ready tried to push fur­ther for a re­view but be­lieves she is at noth­ing. ‘I ap­pre­ci­ate ev­ery­one else com­ing on board to help me,’ she added.

She said she would like to thank all coun­cil­lors and to those for the sup­port. ‘The older mem­bers of the com­mu­nity will miss it the most, hope­fully this pe­ti­tion will work.’

The lo­cals are be­ing en­cour­aged to write to An Post Ap­peals, GPO, Dublin to make the case for the re­ten­tion of Coolgreany Post Of­fice.

‘The crowd are de­ter­mined to use An Post Ap­peals process to make the case strong,’ said Cllr Súil­leab­hain. ‘An Post say the pop­u­la­tion of 376 falls below the 500 thresh­old whereas the catch­ment area from Croghan to the sea takes in over 2,000.’

More in­for­ma­tion of a plan of ac­tion will be posted over the fol­low­ing few days.

Cllr Byrne pointed out in the meet­ing that just two of the 159 post of­fices sched­uled for clo­sure look likely to have that de­ci­sions re­versed at present, one in Sligo and one in Mayo.

‘The meet­ing heard so many per­sonal sto­ries about how people would be im­pacted if this busy post of­fice closed,’ said Cllr Byrne. ‘We can’t al­low it to hap­pen.’

Sub­se­quent to the meet­ing, Cllr Byrne se­cured agree­ment in prin­ci­ple that the aban­doned build­ing on the Main Street in Coolgreany, ac­quired by the County Coun­cil, could be of- fered on a long lease to An Post.

Cllr Byrne said: ‘We need to counter any pos­si­ble ar­gu­ment that An Post could have for deny­ing ser­vices in the area. If it is about space, I’ve se­cured Coun­cil agree­ment that the empty build­ing on the Main Street could be of­fered.

‘We will find so­lu­tions for ev­ery chal­lenge.’

An­other ma­jor point to come up in the meet­ing was the fact in­fra­struc­ture in the vil­lage has not moved on with the rest of county Wex­ford. Cllr Byrne ad­vised the com­mu­nity a lo­cal builder could look into de­vel­op­ing ad­di­tional hous­ing in the vil­lage. No­rah said this gave the people a feel­ing of hope for their vil­lage.

At the end of the meet­ing, the com­mu­nity thanked No­rah and pro­pri­etor Jim Short for pro­vid­ing a fan­tas­tic ser­vice to the com­mu­nity over the years.

Sue Black, post­mistress, No­rah Finn, Cllr. Mal­colm Byrne, who chaired the meet­ing, and Ed­wina O’Con­nor.

El­iz­a­beth Power and Michael Con­dren sign­ing the pe­ti­tion.

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