AN POST has said it is keen to establish a new post office on Shandon Street amid widespread anger the current one is to close at the end of the month.
Head of corporate communications Anna McHugh told the Evening Echo she would encourage local business owners to speak to them about accommodating a post office into their existing premises.
“We have advertised for a new contract twice and we have not received any applications,” said Ms McHugh. “We want to appoint a new contractor there and we would encourage any of the local businesses to come and talk to us,” she added.
An Post officials are to meet business owners from the Shandon Area Renewal Association (SARA) and local representatives next week. A public meeting will be held at the North Cathedral Visitors’ Centre at 6.45pm on Tuesday.
Shandon Street’s postmaster Barry Lyne has said he wanted to keep the post office open, but the stipend paid by An Post for the running of the office has been reduced by 15%, leaving him with no alternative but to close. He does not feel An Post will reverse its decision to cut his funding: “We have to leave, because we don’t have the funding. We were cut by 15% since June and that was to continue next year.”
Mr Lyne said many of his customers have become friends in the decade since he opened, and he hoped An Post would look after customers affected by the closure.
“These people are An Post customers. Why didn’t they consult with the local community and say ‘we’ll fix this for you’? They should be looking after their customers,” he said.
A petition has been set up to lobby An Post to keep the branch open beyond the end of December or establish a new one.
Ms McHugh said the company could not comment on individual contracts, but said payments made to postmaster contractors are based on the volume of business.
Local butcher and SARA member James Nolan estimated the closure could reduce his business by 30% and leave elderly residents severely inconvenienced.
“I know of a 92-year-old man who uses the post office. His wife is disabled and he can only get out for short periods of time. He goes to the post office and then into a few shops to get his bits and pieces. That’s possibly his only outing in a week. His routine will be hugely affected.”
Councillor Thomas Gould said he believes An Post has a duty of care to locals to resolve the issue promptly.