Fianna Fáil TD for Waterford, and Party Spokesperson on Older People, Mary Butler has said that the decision to close three rural post offices in the county has left older people anxious and angry at the Government.
“As the axe falls on the three post offices in question; Ballinamult, Kilmeaden, Lemybrien, customers are furious that this important service has been withdrawn from their local communities.
“As the doors begin to close on these important local services hubs, customers were visibly upset as they arrived for the last time to collect their pensions and other welfare payments.
“It must be remembered that many customers have been collecting their pensions off the same person for upwards of 20 years. More often than not, the relationship is more than that of staff-customer, they are friends. They help with applications and are good neighbours.
“It was very concerning to note that some payments have already been transferred to another post office, and confusion reigned when customers, mainly pensioners, came to collect their pension.
“What’s most disturbing is that in some cases, the system couldn’t tell them where their payment had been transferred to.
“The Government, I don’t believe, understands the magnitude of these closures on older people. They are not natural online users, and they rely heavily on the local post office.
“Getting to their new post office is also going to be a major challenge. Public transport options are limited with one man telling me that the return taxi fare will be €20 – the equivalent of the weekly fuel allowance he receives in the winter.
“Rural Ireland has been long forgotten by Fine Gael, but now it seems that they are actively deciding to ignore and forget about our older citizens – generations of whom built up our country,” concluded Butler