Wednesday 23 January 2019

Community won't give up without a fight

Action group formed to keep Donard Post Office open following public meeting

Dep. John Brady addresses the meeting
Dep. John Brady addresses the meeting
Josh Byrne, Helen Byrne and Julie Beukes
Kay Kelly and Anna Brady

Myles Buchanan

Over 120 concerned west Wicklow residents gathered in Donard Community Hall on Thursday vowing to fight against the closure of their local post office.

Donard Post Office is one of two in County Wicklow, along with Coolboy Post Office, and one of 159 nationwide, which will close as part of a nationwide scheme by An Post to reduce the number of outlets, and transfer services to neighbouring offices.

According to Sinn Féin's John Brady TD, there is unanimous support for fighting to retain the service.

'It was a very positive meeting and many speakers outlined how important the Post Office is to Donard for social and economic reasons. It is a vital lifeline for the village of Donard and the wide catchment area that it serves,' he said.

The Donard Post Office Action Group was set up at the meeting, and a number of events are planned in the coming weeks. The action group is made up of Philip Matuschka, Mary Brett Kelly and Michael Cummins.

'We had great support on the night and it's very clear that people want the post office to remain open,' said Mr Matuschka. 'The action group will be meeting to discuss what action to take. We will certainly lodge a submission to the review process and will also write to An Post and the Minister stating why we think the post office should stay open'.

The closure of Donard Post Office would have an impact not only on residents living in the village but also on other surrounding areas.

'We are the last post office still open east of the N81,' said Mr Matuschka. 'All the other post offices in surrounding areas are closed so people from the likes of Hollywood and Kiltegan often come to Donard to use the post office. One man at the meeting said he would have to make a 36km round journey to Dunlavin if the post office in Doanrd shuts. People are very frustrated. The erosion of services in rural communities was meant to stop with the introduction of the Property Tax, but it hasn't. Ten years on and services are still being cut'.

According to Deputy Brady, a submission will be made on behalf of the community to the Independent Review body established to deal with the planned closure of the 159 post offices across the State.

Members of community will be also encouraged to make submissions before the deadline of September 28.

He called on the Government to take action to prevent the 'heart being ripped out of rural Ireland'.

'Over the coming weeks pressure will also be put on the Government and Government TDs.

The Government must act to save these post offices, they can't be silent bystanders and allow the heart be ripped out of rural Ireland. Is this part of the Government's Project Ireland 2040 plan to develop rural Ireland, by destroying rural communities and increasing rural decline with the removal of local services?' he said.

He encouraged members of the Donard community to make their submissions to or Independent Reviewer, An Post GPO, Dublin 1.

Wicklow People