Post office closures and rural life

 

Sir, – I was interested to note claims by the Minister for Communications that people are going to Lidl and Aldi to have their pension cheques cashed, thus bypassing their local post offices and shops (“People going to Aldi and Lidl to blame for post office closures, -says Minister”, News, September 5th). Denis Naughten seems to be suggesting that this activity was one of the reasons for post office closures. This from a Minister who still seems to be suggesting that the State has in force a competitive tendering process for the provision of broadband services countrywide, although as far as I am aware, there remains only one interested provider in the field!

I have my doubts about the Minister’s claimed cheque cashing credit to the German retailers, as the last time I enquired whether I could obtain “cashback” at either of those retailers when paying for groceries via debit card, I was politely informed that that facility was not available. So it puzzles me how they could cash third-party pension cheques. – Yours, etc,

FRANK SLOWEY,

Oulart,

Gorey,

Co Wexford.

Sir, – Denis Naughten says rural communities had voted for the post office closures “with their own feet” by shopping in stores such as Lidl.

Is he aware that An Post is currently offering 5 per cent cashback on any purchases over €25 made at Lidl when using the An Post Smart Account debit card? – Yours, etc,

ORAN O’SULLIVAN,

Rathdrum,

Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Denis Naughten is probably right in observing that rural people have voted “with their own feet” to bypass their local post office to use similar facilities near Aldi or Lidl. However, he should know from his own constituency in Co Roscommon that if the planning process permits people to build almost wherever they choose, then it is inevitable that they will bypass whatever facilities remain in their nearest village, as they will not be walking, but already in their car. – Yours, etc,

CRAIG BULLOCK,

Boyle,

Co Roscommon.

Sir, – In assessing the level of postal services to be provided to rural communities, it is indicated that there would be a post office for every community of 500 people.

This sounds positive but in reality it has a significant degree of uncertainty. The problem arises from the definition of “community”. Is this a town, village, parish, cluster of houses or the catchment area of a GAA club? On the basis of census of population figures for towns, if a town had a population of, say, 475, would it not be reasonable to cast the net a bit wider and take in a few extra houses on the fringes? Then, might the population be assessed within a certain radius of the post office, say one or two kilometres?

The essential point is that, in the absence of precise advice as to what constitutes a “community”, this commitment is less helpful than it appears. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL WALSH,

Clontarf,

Dublin 3.