Wednesday 23 May 2018

Mary Kenny: You'll have mail!

It's great to see a boom in An Post - and the promise of more post offices

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

I love post offices. I love standing in a queue in a local post office. I love the neighbourliness of the people, and I love exchanging chat with the post office staff, about the weather, the state of the neighbourhood, and, if it's Linda, whether we're succeeding in our current diet and fighting the flab. (There was a power cut when I was in a post office queue last week, and everyone started joking about the Russians starting on cyberwarfare.)

Post offices aren't just places where you mail letters and parcels and attend to other administrative duties: like libraries, churches and the local pub, they're places of community exchange. When my Dublin abode changed from Kildare Street - with a lovely little post office in nearby Merrion Row - to Donnybrook, I was crestfallen to discover that Donnybrook has nearly every convenience except a post office. There used to one - 'co-located' in An Post's jargon - at the back of a shop, but it was taken away as part of one of those 'rationalising' (cost- cutting) measures.

Well, now that An Post has announced an uplifting increase in profits - €8.4 million in 2017 - maybe they'll restore a Donnybrook 'co-located' post office. Or maybe they won't. There is a commitment to having a post office available within every 15 kilometres of more than 500 people, and there are post offices within this ambit of Dublin 4. And maybe it's more important to focus on more rural areas, where it's desperately important to keep post offices going - and open new ones.

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