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Local post office protest meeting

A PUBLIC meeting focused on saving rural and urban post offices and retaining social welfare payment services through the post office is taking place in the West County Hotel this Thursday at 8pm.
Postmasters all over Ireland are worried that post office services in communities are under threat.
The meeting is organised on the back of a major campaign instigated by the Irish Postmaster’s Union (IPU), which represents 1,100 people throughout the country, demanding the Government produce an action plan to ensure the sustainability of the Post Office network.
The nationwide campaign began last Sunday in Sligo and a series of meetings of postmasters is currently underway across the country.
Brian McMahon of Feakle Post Office, the second-oldest post office in County Clare after Killaloe, has said the concern is that there is a move to have social welfare and pension payments made directly into bank accounts.
“A motion goes before the Dáil next week in support of the postmasters. We need all Government members to vote in favour of this motion in order to hold onto the Post Office Network as it stands,” he said.
Mr McMahon is the postmaster of Feakle Post office which has been in his family and in the rural community of Feakle for 140 years.
“We are holding a public meeting this Thursday and we’re marching on the Dáil next Wednesday, February 26. The reason for this is the Government wants all social welfare payments to be made into the banks and the remainder of the payments being dealt with in the post office won’t be enough to keep the post office open. This is another attack on rural Ireland. It affects the social welfare contract,” he said.
Mr McMahon is urging his local community, and the general public to lend their support and voice to the fight. Local county councillors and deputies will be in attendance on Thursday.
“If this proposal goes through we won’t be able to stay open. If this cash flow comes out of the post office, there will be no cash flow there for the local pubs, shops, and businesses. Pubs are not going to do laser transactions for a pint. At the moment 51% of all social welfare transactions are through the post office, and the Government is seeking to reduce that by 2016 down to 3%. We are seriously worried about it,” Mr McMahon said.
Mr McMahon said he intends to march on the Dáil next Wednesday at 7pm with the aim of highlighting the concern of local postmasters.
He has asked the public to “please support your local Post Office, your local economy. This is your chance to stand up for rural Ireland. No garda stations, no creameries, no schools, no post office, no local economy, when is enough, enough?”
Wednesday’s march has been organised to coincide with a Dáil motion proposed by the 16 members of the Technical Group of TDs. The motion calls on the Government to produce a comprehensive plan setting out measures to deliver on their commitment to sustain the network as contained in the Programme for Government and to ensure all tenders involving over-the-counter transactions be decided on both social and economic policies.

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