The fears of rural communities across Kilkenny and further afield have been confirmed today, with a swathe of rural post offices set to close.
It's been revealed that Kilmoganny Post Office is one of the post offices in Kilkenny set to close as part of An Post's consolidation and investment scheme. The post office only reopened in 2016 following closure, after being destroyed by fire in 2013. The nearest post office to Kilmoganny is Callan (more than 11km away).
Post offices in Mullinavat, Glenmore, Crettyard, Ballinakill, Ballingarry and Gortnahoe have also been confirmed by An Post today as among the post offices where the serving postmaster has opted to retire under the agreement concluded between An Post and the Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU). A total of 159 postmasters are to retire and business will transfer to neighbouring post offices.
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 says that 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," she said.
“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.
"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."