New hope for future of Glencar's post office
There was much praise for people-power this week in the Glencar area as Gerald O'Sullivan and the rest of the team at the local post office celebrated An Post's decision to advertise for a contract that will keep the service in the mid Kerry parish for an initial period of two years.
It followed a period of deep concern for the post office's future following the death of popular post mistress Sheila O'Sullivan, who had helped maintain the service for 16 years.
An Post opened an assessment of whether or not the post office was in a position to remain open, but good news arrived in recent days on the back of a period of public consultation.
"We're blown away by the level of support we got," Mr O'Sullivan said. "But for us it was never about the business, it was about the community. It would have torn the heart out of the community if we'd lost it."
"My aunt [Sheila O'Sullivan] ran the post office for 16 years. That job [post master] is out for tender now so we'll be trying for that now," he added. "I'm very optimistic. It's down to the community now to keep it going but we're going to be pushing it more now as well; there's a lot of things you can do at a post office and it's an eye-opener to us as well to all the facilities a post office has."
"To be fair to An Post, they never actually said they were closing us, they just issued us a letter of concern for the future of Glencar Post Office. We went along then and had our first meeting in Glencar Community Centre and we were blown away; up to 400 people attended. We had all the TDs and all the councillors as well and once we had that support going forward it made a big difference to us.
"We went along then to Galway and met two An Post representatives and we had all our TDs and Senator Paul Coghlan; that was a big plus. Next thing Brendan Griffin organised a meeting with the CEO of An Post and it was well recognised by the CEO that we had a Minister there with us.
"The key points issued by the CEO that day in relation to the post office going forward was that 200 submissions had come in from people of the parish and surrounding areas...people power was massive. I just want to give a massive thanks to all the politicians and everyone for supporting us," he said.
Councillor Norma Moriarty also pointed to people-power, praising the many submissions, and she was delighted at the offer of a two-year contract, saying it offers a great opportunity to invest in the business and for the locality to support the post office.
"There are a lot of post offices currently on rolling six-month contracts and in one sense we were fearful that might have been their offer... This shows that the decision-makers realised the importance of it". The news has been welcomed also by Kerry's TDs, and Councillor Michael Cahill described the development as "great news".