Thursday 20 June 2019

Wexford hardest hit by PO closures, outside West

Anna Hayes

Eleven County Wexford post offices are to close as part of An Post's consolidation process which has previously been termed an 'assault on rural villages'.

Approximately six of the closures; Bannow, Broadway, Kilmore Quay, Duncannon, Foulksmills and Camolin, had been suggested at the beginning of August in what was described as 'a leaked list' but this number has more than doubled in the weeks since then.

The list of post offices set to close in County Wexford now also includes: Ballycogley, Ballywilliam, Coolgreaney, Glynn and Kiltealy.

The new branches on the list were all aware weeks ago that they would be ceasing their operations.

Outside of western counties like Galway (18), Donegal (17) and Kerry (12), Wexford has the highest rate of closures at 11, with nearest alternative stations ranging between 2.5 and 12.4 km away from the closing branches.

In their statement, An Post details the closest alternative station for each of the closing branches, as well as a number of other branches within a 15km radius.

They point out that all locations have populations of less than 500 people, and almost 100 of them are in remote areas defined by Census 2016 as having 'no settlement', that being less than 50 occupied dwellings and little evidence of urban centre.

Kiltealy customers have been recommended to take their business to Bunclody which is 12.4km away, one of the furthest distances listed among the 159 closures nationwide. However, the closest post office to Kiltealy would actually be in Ballindaggin, approximately 4km away but it is not listed as even another alternative within 15km.

In terms of the main alternative locations, An Post are redirecting customers from: Ballycogley to Killinick (4.4km); Ballywilliam to New Ross (9.7km); Bannow to Wellingtonbridge (4.5km); Broadway to Rosslare Harbour (6.3km); Camolin to Ferns (5.4km); Coolgreaney to Ballyfad (2.5km); Duncannon to Ramsgrange (3.8km); Foulksmills to Newbawn (5.1km); Glynn to Bree (8km); Kilmore Quay to Kilmore Village (4.7km); and Kiltealy to Bunclody (12.4km).

An Post has said that where postmasters are 'opting to retire', services will be consolidated with neighbouring offices to ensure their continued viability.

Debbie Byrne, Managing Director of An Post Retail thanked the postmasters who had chosen to retire for their great service to An Post and local communities over many years, saying they were committed to ensuring the sustainability and viability of the network with a move to offer more new and innovative services to customers.

'An Post is very grateful for the contribution of the Postmasters over so many years. We will work with the communities that they have served to ensure that their needs continue to be met by An Post for the future. The An Post team has done painstaking work combining business and demographic data with extensive local knowledge to produce a network plan which actively supports the future of rural Ireland.

'We fully acknowledge that this process will be difficult for some customers and communities but the end result will be a strengthened, viable post office network serving the needs of our country for the future,' she added.

Gorey Guardian