THE closure of Ballycroy Post Office on New Year’s Eve will result in an increased sense of isolation for many people in the parish, according to a local Senator.
Over one hundred years of post office services ceased in Ballycroy on New Year’s Eve when the postmistress Rose Conway closed the doors of the post office for the final time. The future of the post office had been in major doubt for the last number of months when An Post failed to find a successful applicant to take over the running of the post office.
Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh said it was ‘a sad day’ for the parish and will be felt hardest by the most vulnerable in the community.
“It was just a desperately sad day for Ballycroy,” Senator Conway-Walsh told The Mayo News following the closure of the post office. “There is a feeling of sadness but also of concern because of how important the post office was for people in the community. The loss will be felt by those who are most vulnerable who used the visit to post office as an opportunity to meet people. Now they will end up having to travel to Bangor or Mulranny to do their business. This will have a big impact on those without transport and will feed into the sense of isolation affected by people in parishes like Ballycroy,” she said.
The Ballycroy native explained that a post office has always operated in the parish but feels that unless a viable contract is offered to run the post office, she cannot see anybody taking it over.
‘Writing was on the wall’
“The writing was on the wall from a long way out because the contact is just not viable and that it is the bottom line. At this stage when services close in areas like Ballycroy it is very difficult to see how they will reopen. Post offices are important to rural communities like Ballycroy and people have to be offered a contract to make it viable to run a post office as a business,” she said.
Fears over the future of the post office emerged in the summer when payments to the current postmistress were cut in July and that she was confined to the old contract, which rendered the situation untenable.
Hundreds of people from Ballycroy attended public meetings in the community centre in August where they demanded that their post office would be retained. The service looked to have been secured when An Post agreed to to re-advertise the contract to provide post office services for the region.
However, Senator Conway-Walsh said the contract on offer was not viable for anyone to make a success of the business. She said that the closure of the post office in Ballycroy was ‘symptomatic’ of the government’s attitude to services in rural Ireland and called on Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, TD, to show ‘vision and imagination’ to ensure post office services are retained in rural communities.