Editorial: Do not strip rural Ireland of its post office lifeline
The prospect of 557 post offices closing their doors is truly an 'appalling vista' for rural, and indeed parts of urban, Ireland.
Nor is this an idle threat. The respected consultancy firm Grant Thornton has predicted 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 will be another nail in the coffin of rural Ireland.
In recent years many towns and villages have been decimated by the loss of the garda station, the post office and emigration. In more extreme cases, the pub and the local shop have closed their doors, victims of emigration and changing consumer habits. In larger towns, the bank branch has closed down and in some cases it is a struggle even to hold on to an ATM.