The Blacklion Post Office is set to close at the end of this month, writes Thomas Lyons. An Post have signalled their intention to “temporarily” close the West Cavan office pending a “final formal decision” on its future.
Company spokesman, Angus Laverty, said: “Blacklion will close on March 30. It will close temporarily in order to give us time to make a decision in terms of the national canvass on the way to have a look at the Post Office network. In the intermediate time the Department of Social Protection payments will be transferred to Glenfarn. That is because you have to nominate a particular office for DSP customers. Then customers will have the opportunity to stay at Glenfarn or transfer to Dowra or any other suitable office.”
On Tuesday dozens of postmasters and supporters marched into the GPO in Dublin to protest against the potential closure of post offices in a move they fear will “devastate rural Ireland”.
The branch owners from around the country demanded the maintenance of rural services before submitting a letter seeking a meeting with An Post chief executive David McRedmond.
The exact number of potential closures is unknown but there are fears among postmasters the number could run into the hundreds, a significant reduction on the 1,100 currently in operation
Speaking to the Celt, Mr Laverty said that the future provision of post office services in Blacklion is still under consideration. When asked if the it was unlikely if Blacklion would re-open after the review the spokesperson said: “I wouldn't go that far. It would be wrong to make a decision on Blacklion without going through the process that we are going through at the moment, which is a national examination of the network.”
In January the State-owned postal service provider confirmed that the serving postmistress has agreed to stay on in the role past her originally scheduled retirement date of February 14. Mr Laverty, said that the postmistress had indicated she would stay in the position until March 30, but that the final decision on closure had “not formal been made”.
Whilst there is a Royal Mail post office across the bridge in Belcoo, the nearest An Post office is a 10-mile round trip to Glenfarne, Co Leitrim.