The fate of Blarney Post Office should be apparent by Friday, a Cork TD told a group of around 80 protesters in Blarney yesterday afternoon.
Thomas Gould, Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central, said two parties were understood to be interested in taking over as postmaster in Blarney, but if nobody took over by this week’s deadline, he would call on An Post to run Blarney Post Office itself.
Mr Gould made his remarks at a public rally in Blarney, as some 80 local people braved wet weather to show support for the local service.
The current postmaster is due to finish their contract at the end of May and, despite advertising the vacancy three times, An Post has not yet secured a new postmaster, with the deadline for applications expiring this Thursday, May 12.
A spokesperson for An Post has said it remained “totally committed to maintaining a post office for the people of Blarney”, and “has had some expressions of interest”.
However, Sinn Féin councillor Mick Nugent said people in Blarney were concerned that those expressions of interest might not result in a new postmaster.
“The current management, who are lovely, are coming out at the end of May,” said councillor Nugent.
“Now, they will stay on for somebody new coming in, but we do have that real issue that the post office could close if there is nobody willing to take over.”
Mick Barry, Socialist TD for Cork North Central, said people-power was the only thing that would save Blarney Post Office, and a change in Government policy was needed so that postmasters are paid a decent wage.
Fianna Fáil councillor Tony Fitzgerald said he was hopeful that a new postmaster would be secured and Blarney would keep a valued service.
Local woman Annette Knightly said that the town of Blarney was “unbelievably famous all over the world” and the Blarney postmark was especially cherished by American tourists and so it needed to be saved.
“It would be just dreadful if we lost our little post office, because what is any town or village without its post office?”
Mary Kiely, who is 82 years old and has lived in Blarney for all of her life, said that she believed the possible loss of the post office was only the latest way in which Blarney had been failed by politicians.
“We haven’t got a hotel, we haven’t got a supermarket, we haven’t got a bank, so it is about time the politicians stood up and were counted,” she said.