Independent Ardee Town Councillors Michael Farrelly and Jim Tenanty will be campaigning to keep our post offices open in the forthcoming local elections.
Cllr Farrelly is postmaster at Ardee Post Office and Cllr Tenanty is also a well-known businessman and both men believe that this government is so busy balancing the books, it has completely forgotten about the people and community values.
Both councillors campaigned together to keep St Joseph’s hospital open and organised a successful petition during that campaign.
Now they are joining up again to try and prevent the closure of post offices in country areas.
People must support their local post office otherwise this government is going to close them down, Ardee postmaster Michael Farrelly said this week.
Cllr Mr Farrelly, was speaking after the protest outside the Dail by 2,000 members of the postmasters’ union.
The union claims there will be mass closures of post offices because the Department of Social Protection wants to move to an electronic payments system - paying the money directly into bank accounts.
The union says this will result in the closure of post offices and the death of communities.
“Ninety per cent of our business is social welfare transactions,’ Mr Farrelly said. ‘Now the government want banks to handle that business.
“We work on a commission base. We would make €1 on a transaction. the banks will charge 10 cent.
“But a post office would be paying rent and staff, so if this business goes it will mean that post offices will close.
“We are relying on the support of the people. the threat of closure is there. We need people to support their local post office.
“If you use a machine in a supermarket outlet to buy a stamp, all of the money goes to An Post, whereas if you use your local post office, a per centage of that will go to the local postmaster, who is employing people and trying to contribute to the local community.
“It’s the same with buying a television licence in a post office. You are contributing towards local employment.
“But this government is threatening that, and thats what this company is about. Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte says everyone will be paying towards a TV licence whether they use a television or computer, from 2015. But if we don’t get that trade, post offices will close.
“And with his colleagues Joan Burton trying to get banks to take the social welfare payments, its clear that the Labour Party don’t care about the future of post offices.
“If social welfare payments are paid directly into bank accounts, and accounts happen to b e in the red, then where would that leave people?
“With the post they are sure they will get cash in hand,” Mr Farrelly said.
Cllrs Farrelly and Tenanty campaigned together successfully when the St Joseph’s campaign was at its height and feel that this is an issue that affects many people in Ardee and surrounding areas.
“This is also about local communities,” Cllr Tenanty said.