A COMPREHENSIVE business case for the retention of Broadford Post Office is being compiled by a local action group as part of a new campaign to get An Post to reverse its closure.
The Broadford Action Group has described the decision of An Post to take advantage of the retirement of postmaster James O’Brien by confirming they will not be continuing a postal service in the village as a very “callous act”.
A Zoom meeting hosted by Senator Timmy Dooley, with An Post recently, was attended by Clare deputies Joe Carey, Michael McNamara, Cathal Crowe, Senator Martin Conway, Councillors, Joe Cooney, Pat Hayes, Tony O’Brien, Pat Burke, Alan O’Callaghan, BCAG members, Emer Smith, Martin Cooper, Aonghus O’Brien, Aidan O’ Brien and P J Mason.
Following the meeting, An Post agreed to accept a submission from the group on why a post office service, which was first established in the village in 1831, should be retained.
BAG chairman, P J Mason stressed it is vital for local businesses and residents the post office is retained.
Mr Mason warned permanent closure is totally contrary to the government’s rural regeneration programme and efforts to carbon emissions in view of additional car journeys to Tulla and Ardnacrusha Post Offices.
Communications Minister Eamon Ryan didn’t give any commitment Broadford Post Office would re-open when questioned by Deputy Cathal Crowe in the Dáil.
Deputy Crowe claimed An Post is taking advantage of the retirement of the postmaster, James O’Brien, to shut down this facility.
“An Post says people can go 15 km over the road to Tulla or Ardnacrusha or a shorter distance to Kilkishen. That is irrelevant because as we have seen during Covid-19, more and more people are back in their home environments working from home and villages have become viable once more. It is illogical to do this and shutting down key services is just stripping the bedrock out of a village.
“I know the Minister wants to see a vibrant rural Ireland but when post offices, local schools and shops are closed, the very rural Ireland we are trying to protect is hollowed out.
“If it was good enough to run last year or the year before and was profitable then it should be serving the heart of the community and its surrounding areas for many years to come,” he said.
Wishing Mr O’Brien well in his retirement, Minister Ryan said he regretted “there does not appear to be anybody willing to take on the post office and keep it operational”.
“None of this is easy. I cannot sugar the pill for the people of Broadford and tell them there is an easy and immediate solution. Nevertheless, we do need to find a solution and we can do so by putting all our efforts towards ensuring that as many Government services and financial services as possible are available through the post office network. That is our best chance.
“We face a real challenge despite the really good work done in this area in terms of mediation. The work done by the Irish Postmasters Union and others in seeking solutions has been very progressive. The Covid-19 crisis has worsened what was already a difficult situation,” he stated.