Post Office closures a death knell for rural Ireland

Post Office closures a death knell for rural Ireland

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As members of the Irish Postmasters’ Union prepare to hold a protest outside the GPO in Dublin today, Clare TD and Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications Timmy Dooley says he’s becoming increasingly concerned about plans for the future of post office services in Ireland.

Reports today suggest that more than 200 post offices are earmarked for closure under an An Post restructuring plan. Deputy Dooley is warning that if this plan is implemented, it will have serious repercussions for communities in rural Ireland.

“The scale of the closures being reported today is frightening and will further accelerate the erosion of rural communities, which has become the hallmark of this Government. Minister Naughten presents himself as a champion of rural Ireland but he is presiding over the demise of towns, villages and communities across the country. The rollout of broadband has been abysmal, roads and infrastructure projects are at a standstill and now we are faced with the threat of more than 200 post office closures”, explained Deputy Dooley.

“Fine Gael and its Independent colleagues must get their act together and begin implementing measures to address the seriousness of this situation.  They must come up with a plan to protect and support the post office network.

Timmy Dooley TD – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016

“Post Offices are much more than a business model; they are the lifeblood of countless communities, particularly in rural areas. They are the nucleus of many villages, around which other services emerge and grow.  They are a meeting place for older people and people living in isolated areas and act as a hub for people to catch up on local news.

“If we want to stem population decline in rural Ireland, we must protect existing services and plan for the future.  Minister Naughten has failed to do this and the situation appears to be deteriorating rapidly.  The closure of 200 post offices has the potential to further decimate communities.  The Government must intervene to ensure that this drastic measure is halted.

“The time has come for Minister Naughten to live up to his promises on rural Ireland – he, along with his Government colleagues, must come up with a comprehensive alternative to this austere proposal, which if implemented, would be the final nail in the coffin of rural Ireland”.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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