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Uncertain future for Cratloe shop and post office

Fears have been expressed over the future viability of the only shop in Cratloe, if the adjoining post office is closed.

Cratloe Community Council has urged everyone in the village and surrounding areas to voice their support for the retention of the post office by attending a public meeting next Monday in the community hall at 8.30pm.

Acting community council chairperson, Josefa McElligott said a community response is required as quickly as possible to safeguard the future of the shop and post office.

In a recent letter to the community council, Dermot O’Brien, who operates the post office in Ashling’s Foodstore, warned that like all small retail businesses, the shop has been hit hard by the recession.

“Sales have decreased year-on-year. Turnover is down by almost 50% from six years ago. I regret to say that without the second source of income from the post office, the shop would simply not be viable,” he stated.

Councillor PJ Ryan said he would be totally opposed to any proposed closure of the post office. He said, last year, An Post promised Sixmilebridge residents and businesses an improved service when the village lost its parcel and delivery service.

However, the Independent councillor claims he now receives his business post much later than he did previously, as a result of this change.

Although Mr O’Brien has managed Cratloe Post Office for the last 20 years, An Post has decided to review the feasibility of its future operation.

Twenty years ago, after a successful campaign by the people of Cratloe to keep the post office, Mr O’Brien and his brother, who was then his business partner, applied for the contract.

As only an individual and not a partnership could apply for the contract, they tossed the proverbial coin and as a result, his name was put forward and they won the contract.

Two years later, they dissolved this partnership and for the last 18 years, he and his wife, Clare, have run the post office and shop.

However, they never applied to have the contract transferred to his name as, any time he informally broached the subject, he was told the result of such an application would most likely result in a review, the favourable result of which could not be guaranteed. When this matter was revisited by An Post, his brother resigned.

On June 11 last, Pat Dunlea from the An Post regional office informed him that Cratloe Post Office is now considered to be out of contract. A consultation period with community interests will take place until July 4.

After this date, an An Post review body will decide on its future.

Dan Danaher

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