Fianna Fáil Deputy for Mayo, Lisa Chambers, has said the closure of post offices around the Country is the symptom of a wider challenge facing rural Ireland
Speaking on the matter, Deputy Chambers said, “there is deep concern among people across rural communities as they feel this is a further step in the downgrading of rural Ireland with the loss of yet another rural service”.
“All communities where their post office is closing should be given the opportunity and the chance to find somebody else to run the service. The Minister and the Government need to examine what additional services can be offered through the post office and ways to make the service more viable, for example, motor tax and banking”, she said.
“We need an impact assessment of the effects the closure of rural post offices has on local businesses and the social fabric of the community – it can not all be about profits”, she continued.
“Mayo is one of the worst counties hit in the Country with eleven post offices facing closure. Decisions were taken by An post and the Post Masters Union, but, there was absolutely no consultation with the communities affected”, she stated.
“This can not be just an economic exercise. It probably isn’t viable to provide electricity, water and broadband into every small rural community but we do this because it is a public service, and people in rural communities are entitled to decent public services”, she said.
“Over the last number of years we have seen rural communities and parishes lose their Garda stations, their schools and now their post offices. When you take away these services you hollow out and kill that community”, she said.
“The closure of eleven post offices is the symptom of a wider challenge facing rural Ireland and if we don’t stand up and stop this hollowing out of rural communities there wont be much left for future generations,” she continued.
“I am calling on Minister Michael Ring and his Department of Rural and Community Development to assess the impact of these closures on our communities and to devise innovative and new ideas to protect rural services and rural Ireland”, she concluded.