Seven post offices in Inishowen will close are to close, it has been confirmed.
They are: Ballyliffin, Ballymagan, Burnfoot, Culdaff, Culkeeny, Dunaff and Quigley’s Point, which has already closed. Seventeen post offices will close in total in Donegal.
In a statement, An Post said the post offices will close after serving postmasters had opted to retire under the “historic agreement concluded between An Post and the Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU), and the neighbouring offices to where business will transfer, boosting their transaction levels and viability.”
They added: “This agreement was underpinned by A New Vision for the Future of the Post Office Services in Ireland, accepted by a 5 to 1 majority in a ballot of IPU members earlier this year. “
Post Offices in locations where postmasters are opting to retire will close and the services will be consolidated with neighbouring offices “ensuring their continued viability.” Sixteen such post offices have already closed at the request of the retiring contractor.
An Post said all remaining Post Offices will benefit from enhanced services and products, new opening hours and an investment package aimed at improving services for customers, driving customer footfall and attracting a wider demographic to ensure that the post office is not just wanted by communities but is indeed relevant and actually used by all.
Debbie Byrne, Managing Director of An Post Retail thanked the postmasters who have chosen to retire for their great service to An Post and local communities over many years.
She also said that An Post was committed to ensuring the sustainability and viability of the Post Office network and would move now to offer more new and innovative services to customers through the reconfigured network.
“An Post is very grateful for the contribution of the Postmasters over so many years. We will work with the communities that they have served to ensure that their needs continue to be met by An Post for the future.
“The An Post team has done painstaking work combining business and demographic data with extensive local knowledge to produce a network plan which actively supports the future of rural Ireland. We are committed to ensuring a vibrant network for all our customers through investment and the expansion of e-commerce, financial and government services to drive usage and relevancy of the post office in today’s changing environment, she added. We fully acknowledge that this process will be difficult for some customers and communities but the end result will be a strengthened, viable post office network serving the needs of our country for the future.
The newly configured Post Office network is focused on three areas to enhance its relevance and appeal: Post offices becoming the backbone of e-commerce: offering the fullest range of parcel and mail services including out-of-hours collections, returns, tracking and redirection; xommunity financial services: diversifying and growing financial services products for individuals and SMEs to include loans, credit cards and more foreign exchange products; local banking in association with the major banks and a full range of State Savings products in more locations nationwide than any other organisation; post offices becoming One-Stop-Shop for Government Services: extending the range of local and central government services including licensing; payments for local authorities, fines and planning applications; digital ID and authorisations.
Details of An Post’s decisions on future local Post Office services, including Social Welfare payment arrangements, will be posted in each of the listed offices within the next two weeks.
Wherever possible, An Post will also seek to ensure that PostPoint services (such as stamp sales, Bill Payment and Mobile Top-Up) are available from retailers in locations where existing Post Offices are closing.
The Company revealed the following patterns (according to the National Census 2016) from the 159 locations where Postmasters have opted to retire: all are locations with populations of less than 500 people; all are within 15km of at least one other Post Office – on average the nearest adjoining Post Office is within 7km; almost 100 of the locations are in remote areas, defined by Census 2016 as having “no settlement”
An Post has established an Independent Review Process for communities to seek an assessment of An Post’s decisions on future Post Office provision in their area following the retirement of a local Postmaster. Details of this process are set out in notices posted in the relevant post office and in An Post’s Vision document.