The people of Greencastle and surrounding areas have a choice in regard to the future of the post office there - they either use it or lose it.
That’s the view of community activist Seamus Bovaird following the announcement on Wednesday that the highly publicised campaign to prevent the closure of the local facility had been averted.
But it’s ‘a stay of exeution’ rather than a final decision, with An Post stating they will review the situation in 12 months time.
In a statement yesterday Fine Gael Deputy Joe McHugh said he had strongly supported a campaign by the Greencastle community for retention of the post office in the village and had lobbied senior An Post officials about the issue at meetings in Dublin and in Redcastle in recent weeks.
Deputy McHugh said: “Continuation of services at Greencastle PO for 12 months initially, pending a comprehensive review by An Post of its services nationwide, represents a positive outcome for us on this issue.
“I would like to compliment the local community for a very proactive, constructive and sensible campaign to retain the Post Office. Cllr Mickey Doherty and I were given every support in enabling us to make representations on this issue.”
Deputy McHugh also said it was a good decision from An Post’s position as there was potential for revenue generation in Inishowen.
He commented: “I would also like to compliment An Post management for their professionalism in responding to local concerns.
“I was able to facilitate a meeting for Donegal Oireachtas members with An Post national management in Dublin about the issue, and An Post also met with representatives and stakeholders, including Cllr Mickey Doherty and me, on the issue at the Redcastle Hotel. With this decision to listen to local concerns, An Post is demonstrating its own ambition to compete for services in rural areas.”
He went on: “This 12 month extension gives the community space to demonstrate how important the Post Office is in Greencastle is. I will continue to work with the local community on this issue.”
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein’s Deputy Padraig MacLochlainn described the decision as ‘a victory’ for the local community in the village of Greencastle and surrounding town lands.
He also said it was an opportunity to demonstrate the sustainability of this important local service and business.
He went on: “I want to congratulate the Gormley family, the Post Office Action Group and all in the local community who campaigned in a determined and professional manner to save this service.
“It is clear that their arguments stacked up and this decision by An Post is very welcome.
But Deputy MacLochlainn too warned that the facility needed support.
“It is only a one year extension and it will be up to all people in the area to support the service in the time ahead”.
Colr Martin Farren commented: “I have lobbied strongly on this issue – earlier in the month I met with representatives from An Post to express the concerns and wishes of the community that the Post Office in Greencastle must remain open.
“I have also worked closely with Minister Pat Rabbitte on this issue, and I commend him on his support for the campaign to keep Greencastle Post Office open for business..”
He urged the people of the area to now support it.
Mr Bovaird pointed out there was a national fishing school, a ferry service, considerable tourism and a lot of other pluses for Greencastle. It was vital, he said, for the long term econcomic future of the area that they did not lose facilities like the post office.