Claims 'services being downgraded in rural Ireland' with closure of two Longford post offices

Aisling Kiernan

Reporter:

Aisling Kiernan

Email:

aisling.kiernan@longfordleader.ie

Cathaoirleach, Cllr PJ Reilly

Cllr PJ Reilly says the closures of rural post offices, like the one in Mullinalaghta will have a "devastating impact" on local residents

Mullinalaghta Post Office is set to close as Postmaster DP Finnegan readies himself for retirement.

The Post Office in Cloonagh has been in the Finnegan family for a long number of years and the closure of the facility and subsequent removal of the services it provides to the people of Mullinalaghta will negatively impact the community there.

ALSO READ: Longford post office closures are a 'blow to the community'

Local area representative in the Granard Municipal District, Cllr PJ Reilly (FF) said he was regretful that yet another post office was closing in his area.

“This time it’s Cloonagh Post Office in Mullinalaghta; I feel that the State is encouraging these closures and indicates clearly that services are being downgraded in rural Ireland,” added Cllr Reilly.

“First there was the closure of country pubs and now post offices are being closed down and all of this is having a devastating impact on people living in rural villages.”

Meanwhile, the closures became clear when it emerged that An Post had received applications from 110 post offices across the country expressing an interest in the voluntary retirement package.

While no compulsory closures of post offices are planned, it is understood the company will assess the applications and determine where retirements can be facilitated and their transactions consolidated to other local offices.

Cllr Reilly says that local post offices provided people with the opportunity to collect their pensions, pay bills, post letters, buy stamps and even purchase their TV or dog licence, services, he adds, “that are needed by the community”.

“Now people will find themselves having to travel seven or eight miles to access post office services,” he added.

“Cloonagh Post Office has been in the Finnegan family for a long number of years; I do wish DP the very best in his retirement, but the reality is that this is yet another link gone from another rural area.”

Back in April, An Post announced plans to modernise the post office network following a breakthrough deal with postmasters.

It included an investment of €50m in growth and modernisation of its network and new formats for better opening hours as well as better-located post offices.