CORK postmasters fear the possibility of more post office closures around the county.
Members of the Irish Postmasters Union (IPU) have been meeting with local representatives to voice their concerns about the possibility of postmasters not being replaced upon retirement.
A representative from the IPU toldthat around 130 post offices around the country are at risk from closure upon retirements, and that there are fears that a further 300 offices are no longer commercially viable to An Post.
Four years ago, the IPU reached an agreement with An Post that there would be a post office within 15km of every rural community of more than 500 people and one within every 3km in urban areas.
An Post owns the 45 largest post offices in the State and just over 800 outlets are run by retail partners.
Several closures have taken place in Cork over recent years, including the imminent closure of the High Street outlet in Turner’s Cross and the closures of outlets in Montenotte, Ballineen, Banteer and on Shandon Street and Military Road in Cork City.
Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central, Thomas Gould, met with officials from the IPU last recently to discuss their request for a Government Public Service Obligation (PSO) to save post offices.
“It was an extremely productive meeting.
"With our post offices down from 1200 to 820 [nationally], it is clear that something needs to be done,” Mr Gould said.
“Officials [from the IPU] warned me that there are a further 240 post offices at risk. The government has made commitments on progressing the PSO but we have yet to see any action.
Mr Gould said that increasing banking services within post offices will not be enough to stop closures.
“The Irish Postmasters’ Union say that the day of reckoning has arrived for the Post Office Network and if funding is not provided before the summer, significant closures will soon follow,” Mr Gould said.
In response to a query about potential closures, a spokesperson for An Post said:
“We appreciate the hard work and commitment of postmasters in the face of incredible business pressures.
“An Post will continue to work with Government and postmasters to maximise the potential of our post office network.”