Shandon Street’s post office closed over the Christmas period, despite a widespread public outcry to keep it open.
The stipend paid by An Post for the running of the office — including staff costs, rent and overheads — was reduced by 15%, forcing the postmaster Barry Lyne to close its doors.
An Post has confirmed that it is set to readvertise the contract and has told the Evening Echo that it is “anxious” to re-establish the service on the street. Head of corporate communications at An Post, Anna McHugh, said payments to contracted postmasters are based on the volume of business.
She said the Department of Social Protection pays An Post based on the number of people collecting payments at each branch and these are reviewed annually.
“Quite simply, An Post don’t have the money to pay on the volume of business that we did in previous years. There are more people back to work as the economy improves and this is the reason for the reduction. Other parts of the business, such as foreign currency exchange, are growing but social welfare payments are dropping,” Ms McHugh added.
Shandon Area Renewal Association member and local butcher James Nolan said footfall on Shandon Street has noticeably dropped since the closure of the post office branch.
“There is a huge difference on the street. Last Friday, normally a busy day, was very quiet. I was standing at the top of the hill on Monday and looking down, you could almost play football without anyone getting in the way,” said Mr Nolan. “There is local interest from shop owners and An Post have to be willing to help people out if they are willing to do it.”
Local councillor Fiona Ryan this week highlighted long queues of people waiting to access services at the nearby North Main Street branch. An Post said this is not due to the automatic transfer of people to this branch who normally would have received payments at Shandon Street and was instead caused by a technical glitch which has now been resolved.