'Elderly would be nervous' collecting pensions in new Cork location after post office closes

'Elderly would be nervous' collecting pensions in new Cork location after post office closes

An Post signage over a post office. Picture Denis Minihane.

Local advocate of the elderly Paddy O’Brien has condemned the closure of High Street Post Office in Turners Cross, describing it as “a very important service”.

An Post confirmed the closure of High Street Post Office to The Echo in a statement on Monday.

Speaking to The Echo, Mr O’Brien said: “Once again, a very important service has come to an end. This is an absolutely appalling situation that An Post is allowed to continue at this rate closing so many post offices throughout the country.

“The post offices are a very important service to the elderly and this will now mean they would have to walk further to another post office or hire a taxi which would be more money out of the pension which at the moment is already inadequate.

“Many have been collecting money at this particular post office for years and some of whom are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s and this awful decision by An Post will unduly create hardship for those who went to High Street for their weekly payment.

“Some people I spoke to made very valid points and one interesting point was that in walking back from a post office in a new location, the elderly would feel exceptionally nervous and scared because they would be recognised as strangers in the area and people would know they’re after drawing their weekly pension.”

Advocate of the elderly, Paddy O'Brien. Pic; Larry Cummins.
Advocate of the elderly, Paddy O'Brien. Pic; Larry Cummins.

A spokesperson for An Post emphasised that they advertised the position of Postmaster for the location on two occasions after the Postmaster announced his intention to resign.

An Post said they also engaged in local canvassing in an effort to secure a replacement postmaster for the position.

“We advertised the contract on two occasions, but we have received no applications and no interest in the vacant contract.nOur Postmaster wishes to exit the High Street contract on Saturday, March 5.”

An Post said they had “no alternative” but to close the High office on that date and transfer customers in receipt of payments from the Department of Social Protections SP to South Douglas Road PO.

Mr O’Brien raised concerns about the number of post offices in the locality that have been closed in recent years, including Montenotte and Military Road during the pandemic, and Shandon Street in 2018, and called on the Government to step up.

Meanwhile, Albert Road Post Office is to close until the week’s end and An Post has said that arrangements have been made for all DSP payments to be facilitated at High Street Post Office.

In response to a query from Cork City South-East councillor Kieran McCarthy, a spokesperson for An Post said: “We are in the process of advertising the Albert Street contract but confident we will get someone to take on the contract.”

Cllr McCarthy said that High Street Post Office is “still in limbo” but that he has received messages from people interested in seeing the job specifications.

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