Monday 17 June 2019

Postmistress Norah Finn says 'it is an attack on rural Ireland'

Coolgreany postmistress Norah Finn looks ahead to D-Day when the post office shuts its doors
Coolgreany postmistress Norah Finn looks ahead to D-Day when the post office shuts its doors

Sara Gahan

The closure of two Post Offices in north Wexford has been described as an attack on rural Ireland.

The village of Coolgreany and Camolin will no longer have a post office in the next four months as part of a reorganisation plan involving the closure of 159 village postal services around the country. The post offices are set to close under the terms of a voluntary redundancy package offered by An Post to postmasters and postmistresses.

Norah Finn, postmistress of Coolgreany post office, spoke of her sadness and upset at having to shut the doors after decades of service.

'I am sick to my stomach about closing the post office,' said Norah, who has been postmistress for 13 years in Coolgreany. 'But for me I felt I had no choice but to accept it. It killed me.'

Norah said she gets upset each time she thinks of the closure of her premises. It was quite a difficult decision for her to make.

'I love coming down and talking to the customers,' said Norah. 'Every Friday my daughter would join me in work and we would end up arguing because we wanted to each deal with the customers.'

The village of Coolgreany is being left to die, according to Norah. 'It is an attack on rural Ireland,' she added.

The customers who regularly attend Coolgreany Post Office are devastated at the news, and have come into Norah upset.

'I just tell them that the office is not closing until January 31 and once we get through Christmas we will see what to do then,' said Norah.

Norah feels the elderly have been hit the most, with some losing their independence because of the closure.

'I know a woman who comes in, does her few bits and her daughter collects her when she is ready. She's very independent,' said Norah. 'But now she will have to try and go to either Arklow and Gorey and stand for hours, her independence is gone.'

She said she will miss her customers the most once she closes the doors for good in January. 'I will miss each and everyone of them,' Norah added.

Camolin Post Office has stood in the village for 51 years. There is no final date set yet for when it will close, but it is due to shut up shop in the next four months along with the other rural post offices.

Jack Redmond of Jacks Tavern, and Chairman of Camolin Development Association, said is it disappointing to see the post office go, but the community will try fight to keep it.

'We will fight in hope of keeping it,' said Jack. 'Maybe someone might take it over or one of the petrol stations in the village.'

The nearest alternative for Camolin is Ferns, which is 5.4km. Other offices within 15km include Boolavogue, Ballycanew, Gorey, Wells and Carnew. For Coolgreany, the closest post office is Ballyfad which is 2.5km. Others within 15km include Kilanerin, Arklow, Gorey and Avoca. A public meeting to save Coolgreany Post Office will take place tomorrow (Wednesday), at 8 p.m., in Coolgreany National School

Gorey Guardian