‘Death of rural Ireland is a myth’
Sir, –Stephen Collins misses the point (“Death of rural Ireland is a myth”, Opinion & Analysis, September 13th).
We know that people are more affluent and don’t choose to use the post offices and don’t choose to buy much in the nearest village either.
Yet the residents of dispersed rural housing take their nearest villages for granted and want them there.
They must choose to use them and must be given a reason to so choose.
Post offices could easily be the effective counter for many more essential government services and citizen interactions.
Post office closures may be a symptom of village decline, but inevitably, they go on to be the cause of further and fatal decline – fewer people dropping into the coffee shop or pub or sorting something while they’re there.
Rural Ireland may not be dying, but it’s morphing into something very unpleasant, a big commuter belt with hollowed-out towns and villages and once-attractive roads that are dangerously over-burdened by SUVs and hurrying commuters.
Every blow to a rural town signals its eventual demise. Let’s rethink what the post office might be and, yes, let’s consider subsidising them for a while.
If we can do it for food outlets and hotels with a discriminatory VAT rate, we can throw a few million at keeping the heritage, populations and social capital of our villages. – Yours, etc,