The decision by An Post to close the sub post office in Mucklagh, County Offaly angers the local community.
Four miles from Tullamore, the villages of Mucklagh and Screggan in County Offally share a population of 1,500 people. The local post office served the area for about 100 years.
When the postmaster in Mucklagh retired, his post office was bought as part of a grocery business by relations Kevin and Anne O'Brien. The O’Briens seized the opportunity to relocate to Mucklagh from England, in the hope of gaining a better lifestyle for themselves and their children.
When the O’Briens took over the business in November 1987, they were unaware the change of ownership would be an issue, but according to An Post, Kevin O'Brien's appointment as postmaster was only temporary. In June 1988, the O'Briens received the news that their post office was being closed down.
It costs An Post a minimum of £2,500 a year to run a sub office, and when a postmaster dies or retires An Post reviews the situation. If business is not economically viable, or there is another office nearby, then the policy is generally to close it.
Is a great loss to us, the customers the rest of the post offices.
Residents of the Mucklagh and Screggan areas must now use the facilities in Tullamore and Blueball. As there is no public transport, many people will have to use a taxi when they go to collect their pensions or children’s allowance.
Kevin O'Brien has surveyed local people, and found that 70% of pensioners in the area were using his post office to get their pension and 60% of people were using it for children’s allowance. Of those not using the post office 95% were willing to change, rather than see the post office closed down.
A spokesman for An Post commented he could see
No circumstances under which the Mucklagh office would be reopened.
The O'Brien's will continue to try to make a living in Mucklagh, but if things do not improve they may have no choice but to return to England.
Our dream is shattered.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 12 September 1988. The reporter is Eileen Magnier.