Cork postmaster keeping people connected and community spirit high during pandemic

Cork postmaster keeping people connected and community spirit high during pandemic
Frankie and Paddy O’Shea at the Upper Aghada Post Office, Co Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

The current Covid-19 crisis has taught us just how important communication is during such an uncertain time.

Staying connected with our loved ones is now more difficult than ever with the current restrictions seeing people self-isolating in their homes, unable to leave unless for essential reasons.

It is a particularly tough time for the elderly in the community who are cocooning and are unable to see their children and grandchildren for the duration of the pandemic.

People have turned to writing letters which are being sent in their droves to loved ones across the country.

A local postmaster has been keeping people connected while they stay apart and has seen a significant increase in letters and postcards being sent since the outbreak of the virus.

Frankie and Paddy O’Shea at the Upper Aghada Post Office, Co Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Frankie and Paddy O’Shea at the Upper Aghada Post Office, Co Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

Postmaster of Aghada Upper Post Office Paddy O’Shea, said that there is a particular increase in letters to grandparents from their grandchildren which has led to the rise in the sale of stamps.

He said that there are a lot of people sending parcels to loved ones also.

“Around Easter especially, we had an awful lot of mail going out and letters from children to grandparents and from grandparents to their grandchildren because they couldn’t talk to them as they usually would. We had huge mail going out,” Mr O’Shea said.

Mr O’Shea runs the post office with his wife Frankie, managing to keep things running smoothly and efficiently during the pandemic and accommodating people with extended opening hours on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm.

He said that the humour in the post office amongst his customers is “good” despite everything that’s going on.

“I do find everyone cooperating. They are very good and very understanding and the humour is good now too. We can only leave about four or five into our office at a time but the others are outside enjoying themselves and chatting while waiting in line.” 

Frankie and Paddy O’Shea at the Upper Aghada Post Office, Co Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Frankie and Paddy O’Shea at the Upper Aghada Post Office, Co Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

He said that the pandemic was “totally unprecedented” and something that hasn’t happened before but that he hopes he and Frankie are giving their customers a good service.

“It’s tough times but we are on the frontline and provide an essential service to our customers and we’re open every weekday and on Saturdays.

“Since this started we’ve been doing everything necessary in the office to keep people away from one another and adhere to social distancing.

“The elderly people are not coming in because they’re cocooning and their money is being collected by appointed relations instead. We’re paying out the pension and the dole every second week now as well,” he said.

Mr O’Shea said that the local postmen operating out of the An Post Delivery Office in Ballinacurra are delivering newspapers and checking in on the elderly and most vulnerable in the community.

“There’s great cooperation overall, everyone is doing what they can for people and it’s great to see,” he said.

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