The Post Office has said it remains committed to providing services to local people amid concerns over three different offices in Derry.
Sinn Fein representatives, meanwhile, have described a meeting with Post Office representatives to discuss concerns about the continuation of services in the Park Avenue, Diamond and Custom House Street offices as ‘positive’.
Foyle MP Elisha McCallion and Councillor Mickey Cooper also stated that a lot of work was still required to ensure that the services in all three areas are retained. In a joint statement, they said: “Our meeting with Post Office representatives left us in no doubt that they were committed to retaining services in the offices concerned. The key issue now is ensuring that a new service provider can be secured for each location.
“In that regard, we are confident that the process to identify a new provider for the Rosemount post office is well under way and has attracted interest from a number of potential candidates. We also remain hopeful that there will be no break in service provision whilst that process continues.
“The process to secure a franchisee for the Diamond has only begun. Therefore we would encourage anyone interested in providing the service to register their interest as soon as possible. Further details can be obtained by contacting our Westminster Office. There does remain an issue surrounding the fact that the building which houses the current service has changed hands which could mean a temporary break in service could occur whilst a new premises is secured. We have committed to working with the Post Office to help to address that issue in way that we can.”
Ms McCallion and Mr Cooper said that issues remain with the Custom House Street post office, as a franchisee has to be secured, which involves a separate process. “Again we would reiterate that this is a unique business opportunity which could be pursued by someone from the city and we would encourage anyone interested to contact the Post Office once they begin the process to identify a new franchisee,” they said.
The Post Office meanwhile has clarified the current situation with the three post offices. A spokesperson said: ‘We want to reassure our customers that we’re committed to continuing with convenient Post Office services in Derry. We’re working hard to find suitable new postmasters.
“Both the Diamond and Park Avenue (Rosemount) are owned by the same postmaster, who has resigned. We have been looking for a replacement postmaster for Rosemount and we have had interest which we are continuing to explore. We are also looking for a replacement postmaster for the Diamond but unfortunately, the situation is complicated by an issue regarding the current premises where we understand the lease has ended and is not being renewed. We’re doing all we can to avoid temporary closure.
“There are no detailed proposals for our Custom House Street branch. We announced in the summer that we are looking at potentially franchising this branch to safeguard the services it provides into the future. Our plans will be centred on retaining convenient access for our customers whilst operating in a more sustainable way to protect services for years to come. Detailed plans, when they are drawn up, will be subject to a public consultation.”