A north Galway community fighting to save its post office has said it believes An Post has been instructed to defer any further closures until after the local and European elections.
The Barnaderg Post Office Action Group has invited Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte, An Post chief executive Donal Connell, the Irish Postmasters' Union and all European and local election candidates to attend a public meeting on the issue next week.
The action group said it hopes the meeting will compel An Post to “clarify its position” on the future of their post office, and highlight what it said was the commercial State company’s “persistent refusal” to outline its strategy for the rural post office network.
Barnaderg is in the parish of Killererin, with a population of 4,000, and is the only post office left between Tuam and Moylough as a result of other closures. It has been in the Fahy family since 1931.
In January, following the death of postmaster Seán Fahy, his daughter Annette Canney was appointed temporary post mistress. The community said An Post indicated then its intention to engage in a public consultation on future service provision.
A three-week consultation ensued, leaving the community to believe this apparent haste indicated closure. Some 350 people and a number of public representatives attended a meeting in the Barnaderg community centre in January 30th, and an action group was formed. “In recent years,rural post office closures have taken place at Lavally, Clonberne, Kilkerrin and Brierfield,” the action group said in its submission to An Post.
Many of the clients of these former offices depend on Barnaderg for Department of Social and Family Affairs payments and other services, it said.
It said An Post promised a decision on Barnaderg’s future would be made within 10 days of receiving submissions, which closed on February 14th.
“Members of the local community served by the post office are frustrated and irritated at the lack of clarity concerning the future of our very vital piece of rural infrastructure,” it said.
A spokeswoman for An Post last night denied that there was any connection between decisions over the future of post offices and the forthcoming elections.