One of the six Clare post offices which had been slated for closure will now remain open.
Cooraclare was set to lose the service, as part of the reconfiguration of services by An Post, but now an agreement has been reached to allow it to remain open.
It comes as a letter from the Department of Social protection has sparked anger in Doonbeg, where an appeal against the closure of their local post office is being made.
Cooraclare is one of six branches in the county and 159 nationally which have been earmarked for closure as part a consolidation of services within An Post.
A series of meetings have been held in West Clare as part of a campaign to save the service – Councillors representing the area, have drawn up a motion calling on the county’s oireachtas members to postpone closures for at least three years.
But today there has been good news for Cooraclare – their post office has been saved after an agreement was reached whichh will see the service move to Vaughan’s shop according to Post Mistress, Geraldine Donnellan.
Efforts are continuing, meanwhile, to save some of the other post office services due for closure, namely in Doonbeg, Lisseycasey, Craggagh-Fanore, Cree and Kilfenora.
But anger erupted in Doonbeg, after a letter from the Department of Social Protection to local residents has said the post service has ceased, and warned that alternative arrangements must be made regarding social welfare payments.
The post office is due to close on September 28th, after which business will be transferred to Kilkee.
An post says alternative arrangements can be made in cases where that doesn’t suit and it’s reassuring that no-one’s payments will be affected.
An appeal has been lodged against the closure and Local Businesswoman and Fianna Fáil Election hopeful Rita McInerny says the letter was premature.
Statement from the Department of Social Protection
An Post and the Irish Postmasters Union (IPU) agreed a plan in May for the future of the post office network. This agreement paves the way for a modernisation programme which should facilitate the development and renewal of the post office network.
On 5th September, An Post informed the Department that Doonbeg post office would cease to operate from close on business on Friday, 28th September, due to this consolidation process.
Once informed by An Post of such an office closure, the Department’s procedure is to write to its customers who use the outlet to inform them of the closure and to let them know of the nearest alternative post office. Included in these letters is a request to the customers asking them to confirm their new payment arrangements. The Department needs up-to-date payment arrangements in order to ensure that we can pay customers when their next payment is due. Doonbeg customer payments will be transferred to Kilkee Post Office.
Welfare customers who wish to use an alternative Post Office can do so by replying to the Department’s letter and stating their preferred payment arrangement.
The closure of a number of post offices under this consolidation process will not affect the Department’s requirement that 95% of welfare clients remain within 15kms of a post office in a rural area.