A well-known Donegal postmaster has said plans to place Gardai into post offices around the country can breath new life into rural Ireland.
Brian Cannon has seen first-hand the decaying lifestyle of people living in Ireland’s remote countryside.
His own village of Lettermacaward has never had a Garda station while the nearest station, Doochary, was closed down a number of years ago.
But the former President of the Irish Postmaster’s Union feels plans to place Gardai in post offices could well be the first move in helping to revive devastated rural communities.
The plan, which has been supported by An Post, was first revealed in yesterday.
“I feel this is a really positive idea and it has many more positive aspects than negative ones.
“Top of the list would undoubtedly be the fact that Gardai will be back in our community.
“To be honest what rural Ireland is missing is the personal touch with our Gardai.
“I used to know many Gardai personally but I know very few now.
“I do see Gardai passing by on the main road here but not on a daily basis.
“If I was to go to the nearest station in Dungloe, I don’t think I would know any of the lads working there.
“A plan like this would allow Gardai to get to know who is living in the local community and how things are,” he said.
Brian, whose family have been associated with Lettermacaward Post Office for more than one hundred years, feels there may be some drawbacks.
But overall he thinks these logistical issues can be overcome.
“Some people may feel a little uneasy about going into a post office to speak to a Garda about some kind of sensitive issue.
“People may not want to do this while others are calling in going about their everyday business,” he said.
However, Brian also pointed to the centralisation of rural post offices to towns as perhaps being a solution here.
He revealed that many post offices also contain rooms where postmen sorted parcels and mail before most were brought back to bigger towns to work.
“Those offices could quite easily be adapted to the needs of Gardai and they could be kept away from the main public area if privacy is needed,” he said.
Brian also suggested that Gardai could consider some form of mobile unit which could be stationed at post offices.
“Overall I think it’s a very positive idea and one which could inject a bit of security into rural Ireland.
“The general trend is towards downgrading services in rural Ireland but this is a step towards upgrading and preserving it and that has to be a god thing,” he said.Tags: