Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher Leas Cheann Comhairle has labelled the recently approved Post Office closures plan agreed by the Government as a disaster for rural Ireland and a further death knell for the long term sustainability of rural communities.
Pat the Cope has today hit out at the government’s absence from the issue. He said: “What is shocking is the complete unavailability of our Government Ministers to address the concerns of our communities, usually not that shy when it comes to media spin or highlighting the merits of Government policy, but on this occasion regarding their policy on post offices the Ministers are as difficult to find as hens teeth.”
Pat the Cope has the accused the government of having a strategy by timing the closures with Dáil summer recess.
He said: “The entire Cabinet are missing in action or should I say inaction on their part – they are nowhere to be found since the roll out of this post office closures plan agreed by them.
“Even our rural based Ministers have done a Houdini disappearing act rather than face the general public on this issue of post office closures but, this was part of their strategy of announcing these closures during the summer recess.
“The Government approach agreed with An Post of announcing Post office closures over the summer months was always intended to make cynical use of the Dáil recess whereby they could not be held to account for their actions and consequences of this policy in the Dáil.”
Pat the Cope criticised the Government for agreeing to a policy of removing services and closures in rural Ireland less than six months after the launch of the National Development Plan.
He said: “National Plans it seems for this Government are a media show event only and nothing more because when it comes to actual policy the Government revert back to their well-established anti rural approach of closures and removing services from our rural communities.
“It is now becoming apparent to many of our rural communities the true and real impact of this Government decision, and the significant negative consequences that these Post office closures will have on our rural towns and villages. It is self-evident that this Government neither comprehend nor understand rural life or the importance of our rural communities and whilst they may have a Department of Rural Affairs they certainly do not have strategy for developing rural communities,” concluded Pat the Cope.