‘CONTRACT IS NOT VIABLE’ Senator Rose Conway-Walsh.
THE future of the Ballycroy Post Office remains in major doubt after An Post have had to re-advertise the contract to provide post office services for the region, after there were no successful applicants.
The future of the post office in Ballycroy looked to have been secured when An Post announced in September they had agreed to re-advertise the contract, but fresh fears have been raised when there were no successful applicants for the post.
An Post have agreed to re-advertise the contract but Sinn Féin Senator, and Ballycroy native, Rose Conway-Walsh said the contract offered by An Post was not viable for rural areas like Ballycroy.
“The problem is the contract offered is not viable for most people,” she told The Mayo News. “There were a couple of people who were interested but when they examined the figures they would have to subsidise the provision of the post office and that is not right.
“I have contacted An Post and asked them to review the contract to make it more viable for places like Ballycroy but there is a reluctance to do that because that is the contract agreed with the union [Irish Postmasters Union]. At this stage I am fearful for the future of the post office in Ballycroy. The decisions made in An Post are done purely on an economic basis, with complete disregard for the social necessities of having a post office in Ballycroy,” she said.
Senator Conway-Walsh claimed that it would not take a lot of money to make a contract viable and questioned if agreement between An Post and the Irish Postmasters Union was ‘rural proofed’ with communities like Ballycroy in mind.
“There are several post offices in West Mayo which are in a vulnerable state and it all comes down to the nature of the contract. The limitations of the contract ensure there is not enough money to run a post office and the difference between a post office being viable and not being viable is a small amount of money.
“I am calling on the Minister for Rural and Community Development [Michael Ring] to sort it out because he should understand the repercussions for losing a post office in Ballycroy. It will rip the heart out of the village.”
The nearest post offices to Ballycroy are in Bangor Erris and Mulranny which are each approximately 15km away. With limited public transport available, Senator Conway-Walsh said that taking a taxi to get to a post office would put any people on low incomes below the poverty line.
Gerry Quinn, a spokesperson for Save Rural Ireland said it appeared the initial fears for the Ballycroy Post Office were coming true and claimed the contracts offered were ‘not fit for purpose’. He also expressed similar concerns for the post office in Keel on Achill Island and said unless the contracts were made viable for rural areas, there would ‘utter devastation’ for a number of communities in north and west Mayo.