An Post has announced the locations of 159 post offices which are set to close in the coming weeks and months as part of a restructuring plan.
The greatest number of closures will be in Galway (18), followed by Donegal (17), Cork and Kerry (both 12), and Mayo and Wexford (both 11). Post offices in 25 of the State’s 26 counties will close as part of the plan, with Dublin being the exception.
Sixteen of the post offices have already shut, with the rest to close over the next four months.
An Post has said that more than 100 of the post offices due to be shuttered are in remote areas. Alongside the closures, it intends to open five new post offices, and fill vacant postmaster contracts at 36 urban and rural locations.
An Post have committed as part of the reformed network that communities with populations of over 500 people would have a post office, and 95 per cent of the population would always be within 15km of at least one post office.
Several of the post offices to be closed were more than 10km from the next nearest office. In Swanlinbar Co Cavan, where the post office is to close, the nearest alternative is 14.6km away, in Ballyconnell.
Minister for Communications Denis Naughten said all closures were made on a voluntary basis. The recent restructuring represented a “necessary first step in reinvigorating our national post office network and making it a viable, sustainable and modern network for the future”, he said.
The Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) and An Post had been involved in protracted talks over restructuring plans for the postal network.
In May, the IPU passed a ballot to support a new plan for the post office network, with the support of 80 per cent of members. The plan had been agreed with the union’s executive and An Post, and was approved by the membership on May 11th.
Some 161 postmasters applied for a voluntary retirement package under the plan, with An Post approving 159 of these. Their customers will be transferred to alternative post offices nearby.
Anne Rabbitte, Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East, said the level of closures in Galway was "shocking." She said the restructuring was a "death knell for rural Ireland" which would create tracts of land where no one would live due to lack of services.
“They are creating wastelands,” she said.
Debbie Byrne, managing director of An Post's retail division said the company was "very grateful" for the years of work from the postmasters who were retiring.
“The An Post team has done painstaking work combining business and demographic data with extensive local knowledge to produce a network plan which actively supports the future of rural Ireland,” she said.
“We fully acknowledge that this process will be difficult for some customers and communities but the end result will be a strengthened, viable post office network serving the needs of our country for the future,’’ she said.
In areas where post offices will be closing, local shops will provide some services such as stamps, bill payments, mobile-top ups and television licence renewal through a PostPoint counter facility, the company said.
Closures by county:
Carlow: Crettyard, Rathtoe
Cavan: Corraneary, Killeshandra, Kilnaleck, Mountnugent, Swanlinbar, Tullyvin
Clare: Cooraclare, Craggagh, Cree, Doonbeg, Kilfenora, Lissycasey
Cork: Allihies, Ballineen, Ballyclough, Ballynoe, Carrigadrohid, Desertserges, Drinagh, Lackaroe, Minane Bridge, New Twopothouse, Rockchapel, Shanballymore,
Donegal: Ballyliffin, Ballymagan, Brinlack, Bunbeg, Burnfoot, Church Hill, Culdaff, Culkeeny, Dunaff, Dunfanaghy, Dunkineely, Gortahork, Kindrum, Meenaneary, Quigley's Point, Rossnakill
Galway: Ballyconnelly, Ballyglunin, Ballymoe, Cloghbrack, Colemanstown, Cornamona, Eyrecourt, Garrafranes, Glinsk, Inverin, Kiltulla, Kylebrack, Lettermullen, Menlough, Moyard, New Inn, Renvyle, Woodlawn
Kerry: Asdee, Ballinskelligs, Ballylongford Ballymacelligott, Banemore Cross, Currow, Duagh, Gneeveguilla, Kilflynn, Knocknagoshel, Mastergeehy, Moyvane
Kildare: Donadea, Moone, Narraghmore
Kilkenny: Glenmore, Kilmoganny, Mullinavat
Laois: Ballinakill, Ballybrittas
Leitrim: Aghacashel, Aughavas, Killargue, Newtowngore
Limerick: Athea, Ballyagran, Dromkeen, Kilbehenny, Knocklong, Lisnagry, Mungret
Longford: Carrickboy, Cloonagh, Colehill
Mayo: Ballindine, Ballyglass, Belcarra, Carrowmore-Lacken, Cross, Doocastle, Finny, Hollymount, Kilmaine, Partree, Scardaune
Meath: Batterstown, Bellewstown, Clonalvy, Drumree, Dunsany, Rathmolyon, Tara
Monaghan: Clontibret, Dartrey, Smithborough
Offaly: Geashill, Moneygall, Mount Lucas, Pollagh, Walsh Island
Roscommon: Athleague, Cornafulla, Garranlahan, Knockvicar, Loughglynn
Sligo: Ballinafad, Ballinfull, Dromard, Drumcliffe, Gurteen, Monasteraden
Tipperary: Ballingarry, Clogheen, Coolbawn, Gurtnahoe, Littleton, Newcastle, Templetuohy, Upperchurch
Waterford: Ballinamult, Kilmeaden, Lemybrien
Westmeath: Ballinahowen, Collinstown, Rathowen
Wexford: Ballycogley, Ballywilliam, Bannow, Broadway, Camolin, Duncannon, Foulksmills, Glynn, Kilmore Quay, Kiltealy
Wicklow: Coolboy, Donard