Campaign to save Ireland’s most south-westerly post office

State subsidies and more government activity are needed to ensure the viability of rural post offices, campaigners said.

The call came on Tuesday night as two West Cork TDs launched separate campaigns to save Ireland’s most south-westerly post office branch. A similar campaign is underway in Cork City to save Blarney Post Office.

Nina O’Sullivan at the Save Blarney Post Office protest. Picture; Eddie O’Hare

Cork South West TDs Christopher O’Sullivan (Fianna Fáil) and Michael Collins (Independent) have both appealed for someone to come forward to run the Goleen Post Office on the Mizen Peninsula, where the master Breda Buckley is due to retire on May 31.

The branch serves a community with an older population, many of whom have difficulty transacting online, O’Sullivan said.

Traveling to Schull to use the service is also not an option for many,” he said.

“Service must be maintained at Goleen. This service is too important to be lost.”

But Mr Collins laid the blame for the impending closure of the Goleen Post Office and other struggling rural post offices at the feet of the Government.

An Post said it advertised twice for a new operator in Goleen and three times for a new operator in Blarney, all without success.

A spokesperson said postmasters are paid based on the volume of transactions at each branch, which both DTs agreed to, putting rural post offices at an immediate disadvantage.

Residents of the Save Blarney Post Office protest.  Photo: Eddie O’Hare
Residents of the Save Blarney Post Office protest. Photo: Eddie O’Hare

Mr Collins said: ‘What I have been saying for years is that the Government’s inaction to attract new business to post offices in rural Ireland means that many rural post offices like Goleen will be forced to close their doors.

“The recent decision to remove mail sorting from Goleen, Schull and Ballydehob post offices has been yet another hammer blow and major loss of revenue for these already struggling post offices.

All of the efforts of our Rural Independent Group to urge the government to work on a plan for rural post offices have fallen on deaf ears, as this government and previous governments have either announced the closure of position, or shut them down stealthily, reducing their business and income.”

Mr O’Sullivan said An Post had indicated it wanted to maintain the service in Goleen as long as it could recruit someone to run the post office. He said subsidies for these branches should be considered.

An Post has paid out some €8.5 million in support to postmasters during the pandemic at a time when the government has been asking post offices to ensure cash is kept in circulation.

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