The fight to retain Bansha Post Office will be brought to the gates of Leinster House if necessary, was the clear message from a public meeting in Bansha last Thursday, June 16.
O’Heney’s Millennium Room was packed to overflowing for the meeting which heard speaker after speaker condemn the proposal by An Post to terminate the contract to provide a sub post office in the village.
National President of Muintir na Tire, Martin Quinn, who chaired the meeting, said that this move must be opposed as the Post Office was at the very heart of the community and that it would have a major negative impact on the people who use the service along with the knock on effect on the local business community. He said that Muintir na Tire had campaigned throughout the country for the retention of services in rural communities and that this move by An Post to close 500 Post Offices nationwide was the ‘final straw’ for villages and communities.
The meeting heard from three T.Ds, Tom Hayes, Seamus Healy and Mattie McGrath and all pledged their full support for the campaign along with Senator Denis Landy and local councillors.
The Oireachtas members reported on meetings that had taken place with An Post, the outcome of which was not favourable towards the retention of the Post Office. Deputy McGrath said that An Post’s only concern at this point was termination but that they had agreed to meet a delegation from Bansha to discuss the issue further. Deputy Healy said that they came up against a ‘brick wall’ but that the fight was only beginning and Deputy Hayes encouraged the setting up of a committee to progress matters further.
Senator Denis Landy said that he had spoken with Minister Pat Rabitte and that he was also agreeable to meet a delegation from Bansha.
The meeting heard from parishioners of the effect that the closure would have on them and the major difficulties that travelling to any different location would present for them. Parish priest, Fr. Micheál Hickey also addressed the meeting and stressed the importance of retaining the service in the village and recommended that a plan be put together as a matter of urgency to present to An Post.
Cllr. Michael Fitzgerald urged the meeting to be prepared for a hard fight but said that it was a fight that could and would be won and he pledged his support to the campaign and that of South Tipperary County Council. This support was also pledged by the other councillors in attendance including Cllr. Mary Hanna Hourigan, Cllr. Joe Donovan and Cllr. John Crosse.
Cllr. Hanna Hourigan said that it was crazy to think that people could go to Tipperary for these services as Tipperary post officewas already unable to cope with the level of business there and that it would be terrible hardship to expect elderly people to queue on the streets of Tipperary for their pensions. Cllr. Seanie Lonergan pledged his support and outlined how they had fought to retain their Post Office in Cahir and had succeeded and that he was sure that Bansha would also succeed in their campaign. Cllr. John Crosse said that the proposal from An Post did not make any sense and was not backed up by rationale and that it must be opposed and Cllr. Joe Donovan said that local communities had to protect their remaining services and that this proposal must be strongly opposed.
Support was also forthcoming at the meeting from Catherine McCarra, Secretary of the local branch of the Irish Postmasters Union, who described the proposal as disgraceful and said that the campaign would have the full support of the Union.
An Action Committee, tasked with putting a plan together to present to An Post and to arrange for deputations to meet with An Post officials and Minister Pat Rabittee, was formed and its first meeting was on Tuesday.