Coolgreany will fight to keep the post office open
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.