A NEW action group has vowed to deliver a strong message to An Post requesting the speedy reopening of Broadford Post Office.
Public representatives and members from the newly formed Broadford Action Group will be part of a delegation who will voice grave concerns about the temporary closure of the local post office during a meeting with An Post public affairs manager, Aonghus Lafferty, next Monday.
The new lobby group has been given a strong mandate to represent the local community after more than 150 people attended a public meeting in Broadford last week to discuss the unexpected temporary closure of the post office.
Group chairman, PJ Mason was delighted and heartened by the huge turnout of people at the meeting.
Having contacted An Post officials this week, he stressed the importance of re-opening the community facility as quickly as possible.
“The post office at Broadford serves a large population in a wide catchment area of about 2,500 people, which includes the parish of Broadford, an area of Bridgetown, O’Callaghan’s Mills and Bodyke.
“People are very agitated about this closure. The group wants to get the post office up and running again. People are offering premises and some have experience of running a similar operation if the existing post mistress is not in a position to continue.
“A new shop is preparing to open in Broadford village before Christmas. Broadford is the crossroads to East Clare and it is critical it has a post office.
“There is a lot of potential to develop the business in Broadford Post Office following the closure of bank branches, such as the one in Corbally, which means people in East Clare have to travel to Caherdavin to complete their bank business,” he said.
A spokesperson for An Post said the post office had closed temporarily for reasons outside of its control. She said An Post representatives look forward to hearing the views of the local community next week.
Deputy Pat Breen has pledged to work with the group to reopen the post office. He has been in touch with An Post officials to express his concern at the sudden closure of the facility and has urged the company to reopen it immediately.
“The sudden closure of the post office in Broadford has caused a lot of upset in the area and the current situation cannot be allowed to drag on indefinitely, as the absence of the post office is causing a lot of inconvenience and hardship for people. The current situation is placing a difficult burden on the elderly people in the area, who now have to travel to Tulla to pick up their pensions. When people go to pick up their pensions on a Friday they regularly do their weekly shopping and the small businesses in Broadford are losing out and can ill afford this loss of business,” he said.
Councillor Joe Cooney, who called the meeting, said the closure is worrying for people in East Clare and expressed confidence the action group would present a strong case for the retention of the facility at the forthcoming meeting.
Tulla Post Office has been temporally designated the centre where the Broadford community can access pension and welfare entitlements. However, some people have been unable to get to Tulla, while others have had to be transported by neighbours and friends.
Present at the meeting were officers and members of all the local organisations, including the ICMSA, IFA, hurling clubs, camogie clubs, ICA guilds, development association, community alert groups, gun clubs, parents’ groups and members of the boards of management of the local schools. Councillors Michael Begley, Joe Cooney, Cathal Crowe, Pat Hayes and Martin O’Loghlen, representing Deputy Timmy Dooley, also attended.
The post office action group was elected and includes chairman, PJ Mason, Broadford; hon secretary, Joanne Moloney, Broadford; John Bowler, Kilmore and Martin McMahon, Killuran, Broadford.
Councillor Crowe said it is imperative that politicians of all affiliations work with the locally elected committee to reopen and retain Broadford Post Office.
“A post office forms part of the backbone in any rural village but in Broadford’s case, we’re talking about a much wider area that takes in all of the communities between Ardnacrusha and Tulla,” he said.
Broadford Post Office also has great historical significance. The first post office in the village opened in 1831, when there was 383 people living there, while Michael Regan was appointed as the first postmaster in 1836. In 1843, Broadford was one of the 128 Irish towns and villages served by a Bianconi mail car on the Limerick to Tulla route, which carried people as well as mail.
Fifty years later, Thomas Lynch provided a money order and telegram service, as well as postal services in Broadford.
In 1918, British soldiers took over Broadford Post Office to ensure all postal duties continued, as it was considered as one of the main lines of communication, which had to be kept open during the War of Independence.