A committee has been formed in Killeigh by locals who are afraid the village might lose its post office.
Current postmaster Joe Plunkett and his wife Bridget are set to retire at the end of June. The two run the village post office, which has been in the Plunkett family for generations, from their home. If the service is continue in the village not only will a suitable person for the job have to be found, but a suitable premises too.
An Post currently has the opportunity listed on its website, as well as in post offices in Tullamore, Geashill, Mountmellick and Clonaslee. While an An Post spokesperson said its two week timeframe is standard, committee member Noelle Spollen says the May 28 deadline for applications is too soon.
“In realistic terms the timeframe is just not viable,” Noelle told the Offaly Independent, adding that in her opinion a two month window would be more appropriate. “Looking at the website it does say that a normal process from start to finish takes three months,” she continued. “Obviously we’re not going to have a post office up and running for June 30.”
Potential applicants are required to include personal and financial details, a business proposal, drawings and photos of a proposed premises and a current tax clearance cert in their application.
An Post’s spokesperson said there “has been interest” in the opportunity. Though the committee that met for the first time last Friday know of no applications that have been submitted, they believe running a post office locally would be an attractive option.
“The post office in Killeigh is a very viable business,” Noelle explained. “It has a very good turnover. There would certainly be a need for it in the village, and from a business point of view it would be viable.”
Speaking last week Fine Gael TD Marcella Corcoran Kennedy said she has made “very strong representations” to An Post and Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte about the matter, impressing on them “the very vital nature of the service being provided at Killeigh post office and the need for this service to continue”.
Local councillor Brendan Killeavy added that losing the post office would be the thin end of the wedge for the village. “If people have to leave the village to find a post office, then they are more likely to shop outside the village too, for instance,” he said.