A decision by An Post to close the post office in the village of Bansha has been met by anger and a campaign to save the local service, and rural communities.
More than 3,500 people have put their names to a petition in support of the local post office and a public meeting to rally further support will be held in the village this week.
The post office in Bansha is located inside a filling station that is in the process of being sold. The sale will mean the conclusion of the contract between the local business and An Post and the national mail company say they will not be entering into a new contract with the new owners.
However the people of Bansha, and their public representatives, are campaigning to keep a post office in the village. A public meeting will be held tomorrow night, Thursday, in O’Heney’s to discuss the proposed closure.
News that the post office was to close forever came as a shock to local people, when the news broke in recent weeks.
“Local people are devastated by the loss of the post office,” Cllr Michael Fitzgerald, who lives just three miles from the village, told The Nationalist.
Two weeks ago an An Post regional manager confirmed to staff that the post office would close with the sale of the business.
“This would be a devastating blow to a rural village like Bansha. They have about 500 customers including the elderly, job seekers and people in receipt of the Carers Allowance,” Cllr Fitzgerald pointed out. “It’s a busy post office with two people employed.
“People are trying to make an effort in Bansha. It’s a vibrant place. As a rural community this would come as a complete shock and a kick to their future as a community.”
The councillor said there has already been a tremendous show of support in the area, from residents and the businesses.
“Too much has left rural communities - garda stations, creameries, even local pubs are under threat. If the post office goes it’s a lost fight to save rural communities,” said Cllr Fitzgerald.
A public meeting is to be held on Thursday, June 16, to discuss the proposed closure of Bansha Post Office. The meeting will be held in O’Heney’s Millennium Room, Bansha at 8pm and all are welcome to attend.
Locals say the proposed closure of the post office would have a very negative impact on the community as the service goes well beyond the provision of postal services. Members of the community are asked to show their support for the retention of the Post Office by attending this very important meeting. Petitions of support are also available for signing at local outlets.
Last Thursday, June 9, a meeting between local representatives and An Post took place in Dublin. It is believed the meeting lasted for several hours but there was no change in the stance of the company.
Commenting on the campaign, Deputy Mattie McGrath said: “This is a huge issue because it is replicated around the country and severely impacts people’s access to budgeting services such as Bill-Pay, as well as old age pensions, disability allowances and all other social welfare payments.”
Cllr Seanie Lonergan also commented: “An Post do not seem to be aware that all country people do not own a car or computer. First the village Post Offices were victim to cutbacks, the latest being Bansha Post Office, this is a devastating blow to the people of Bansha,” He said that Cahir Post Office would have fallen victim to closure were it not for the Cahir people.