Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has slammed the Government over what he says is its complete indifference and antipathy towards rural Donegal.
The Donegal TD was commenting on the publication yesterday by An Post of a list of 159 post offices which are set to close over the coming months, including 17 branches in Donegal.
The Co. Donegal post offices on the consolidation list are: Ballyliffin, Ballymagan, Brinlack, Bunbeg, Burnfoot, Burtonport, Church Hill, Culdaff, Culkeeny, Dunaff, Dunfanaghy, Dunkineely, Gortahork, Kindrum, Meenaneary, Quigley’s Point, Rossnakill.
In response to the publication, Deputy Doherty said:“Just like many people felt following the publication of this post office closures list yesterday, I am extremely saddened and angry at this news that 17 local post offices will close over the next few weeks and months.
“And while rural Ireland has suffered most from job losses and cuts to basic services particularly over the last decade or so, the closure of rural post offices is something which many fear could prove the death knell for rural communities.
“Having spoken with a number of people living in these communities, there is an overall feeling amongst them that the closure of their respective offices is a retrograde step and one which will have a detrimental impact on not just the local economy but on their area’s social fabric more broadly.
“I too share those fears and concerns and while it is of course important that An Post facilitates exit requests from Post Masters and supports its worker when they choose to step down from the role, I firmly believe that every effort must be made to retain postal services where possible.
“The local post office and the services it provides remain very much central to community life for many rural towns and villages, and that is also the case in these communities where the local branch is set to close.
“Earlier this month, following reports that a number of branches across Donegal were ear marked for closure, I wrote to the company and to its Independent reviewers who were charged with examining these proposed closures, and I pressed upon them the need for the company to make every possible effort to avoid closures and to ensure that local residents and businesses continued to have access to postal services going forward.
“Unfortunately, as the publication of this list yesterdays now shows, it seems that those calls have fallen on deaf ears.
“Similarly, these closures also clearly prove that this Government has decided that the post office is not worth saving and in that regard they have shown nothing but indifference and antipathy towards rural Ireland, including Donegal.
“And while Fine Gael TDs were more than happy to oppose post office closures whilst in opposition when the network was reduced by over 200 offices between 2006 and 2011, the majority of which were closed under a Fianna Fáil Government, the party is now only too happy to oversee branch closures now its in power.”