A UNIQUE post bus, which brought tourists as well as the mail to Co Clare's beauty spots, is being axed by An Post.
For a mere ?6, visitors and locals could travel with the postman-cum-driver on a 70-mile trip as he dropped off letters to places such as the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher. However, An Post was yesterday accused of allowing the bus service, one of the cheapest in Ireland, to become run down in order to abolish it.
Independent Clare council member Martin Lafferty made the charge after An Post axed the post bus, which has served the area for the past 22 years.
The "experimental service" was launched by the then Post and Telegraphs Minister, John Wilson, in July 1982 and was expected to be extended to other counties, but this never came about.
A spokesman for An Post said yesterday that the existing post bus was too old and beyond repair, and that the service was being cut for economic reasons.
The last driver of the post bus, JP Mulligan, said yesterday: "It is sad and the end of an era. Tourists found the concept such a novel thing."
Meanwhile, the Windgap post office in south Kilkenny, is cutting back on many of its services to become a 'postal agency' due to a fall off in demand.
"Unfortunately, it's a sign of the times that services are being cut back because people are moving to more urban areas," said postmaster John Ryan.