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Councillor laments closure of Keel Post Office


HAPPIER TIMES Keel Post Office posted this picture on its Facebook page last June, saying ‘The sun is out and the doras is oscailte!’.

Anton McNulty

THE closure of Keel Post Office on Achill Island is another example of the demise of rural Ireland, according to a local councillor who says major investment is needed to stem the flow.
The parish of Achill has been left with just one post office since last Wednesday following the closure of Keel Post Office with no indication that someone will take it over in the near future.
Achill-based councillor Paul McNamara said the closure of post offices was taking place all over the country and was a result of years of neglect of rural Ireland by past and present governments.
“Every parish is seeing garda stations, schools and pubs closing and every small thing contributes to this happening. We have things like difficulties in getting planning permission in rural areas, the 4 percent rise in VAT for hospitality and Mayo County Council raising rates. This will lead to a tsunami of small businesses closing and if something is not done in the near future rural Ireland will continue to face serious problems.
“Everyone is talking about Brexit and hard borders but nobody seems to care about the imaginary border in this country between the east and west. The east is thriving at the moment and the government are happy with a €1 billion overspend for the children’s hospital. Just imagine what we could achieve if €1 billion was spent in rural Ireland.
“There is no reason why high-speed broadband cannot be rolled out to every home in rural Ireland if they could bring electricity to rural Ireland in the 1950s. If we don’t give people the option of being able to work in rural Ireland then we will lose more and more services like post offices,” he said.
Keel Post Office had not been identified by An Post for closure but closed last Wednesday when a replacement for the retiring Postmistress, Shannon Corrigan, was not identified. A notice by An Post stated it will ‘close temporarily’ and all services will be transferred to Achill Sound Post Office.
Cllr McNamara paid tribute to Shannon Corrigan for her service to the community and lamented the closure of Keel Post Office.
“The post office is the hub of the community and a place where many people meet to socialise and its loss will be felt. There were seven post offices at one stage in Achill and now we are down to one in Achill Sound. Hopefully someone will be available to take over again,” he said.
Shannon Corrigan had served as Postmistress of Keel Post Office for the past 13 years and previously worked for the former Postmaster John O’Malley. Speaking on the final day as Postmistress she admitted it was a sad day.
“It is a sad day but people have been calling in all day and thanking me for the service to the community and that is an uplifting feeling. I have met a lot of people over the last 15 years and have made a lot of friends in that time. It is a sad day today but it was an honour to serve the community,” the Cleveland native told The Mayo News.