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Thursday 2 October 2014

Grey vote mobilised in battle to keep rural post offices open

Brian McDonald

Published 10/04/2014 | 02:30

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Joan Freeman, founder of Pieta House
Joan Freeman, founder of Pieta House

THE grey vote is about to be rolled out in the fight to keep rural post offices.

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Active Retirement Ireland, with 23,000 members across the country, warned yesterday that it would take the fight to keep open the country's 557 rural post offices to the ballot box for the local and European elections.

In a blistering attack on the threat to the post office network in rural Ireland, the president of Active Retirement Ireland, Mai Quaid, said that any assurances on the issue from politicians were not to be believed.

Across the country ARI, a network of over 500 local and community-based voluntary organisations, was now holding workshops to help members bring the issue to the attention of election candidates. Already, rural communities had seen the closure of 130 garda stations, 200 bank branches and 1,300 rural pubs, she pointed out.

The threat to the country's rural post offices has been highlighted in a report by consultants Grant Thornton which warned that should the Post Office lose the contract to pay out pensions, dole and children's allowances for the Department of Social Protection, or should the payments system go online, the end result would be another nail in the coffin of rural Ireland.

Ms Quaid added: "We will fight for these rural communities the way we have fought to keep our state pension – the pension which we worked for and which they seem to forget is earned and which they want us to feel guilty about claiming."

Irish Independent

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