Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow Pat Casey expressed his deep disappointment about the announcement that Laragh Post Office is to shut in January. “This is another hard blow for rural Wicklow and again highlights the lack of imagination or determination to keep vital services in rural Wicklow.”
“The residents of Laragh, Glendalough, Trooperstown will now have to travel at least ten kilometres to either Roundwood or Rathdrum to avail of postal services. When you consider that Laragh is adjacent to one of Irelands top tourist attractions the lack of imagination in generating additional services for the post office is breathtaking.”
“The recent news that two thirds of the 1,131 post offices are ‘economically unviable’ is very bleak.
The post offices have been given no support to offer new services or re-invent themselves in the face of changing times. It has long been known that the services offered by the post offices need to be broader and take into consideration the changing needs of the people who use the post office, however the Government have done nothing to help preserve and support the rural post office. There have been many attempts to take more business away from them instead of helping build a different service that provides more banking like solutions.
“Minister Heather Humphreys and the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs need to take full responsibility for this urgent situation and develop a plan to save our post offices. A recent Grant Thornton report predicted that unless fundamental reforms are introduced between 450 and 500 branches could be lost by next year. These job losses, along with the inconvenience caused to older people, many of whom rely on their local post office to collect their pension, must act as a wake-up call for the Government. We cannot sit back and let these threatened closures happen,” concluded Deputy Casey.