The Irish Postmasters' Union has announced that it is to mount a national campaign to resist the closure of post offices by An Post.

During a protest at the GPO in Dublin, postmasters warned that as many as several hundred post office closures being planned by An Post would devastate towns and villages all over the country.

Some rural communities, however, have successfully campaigned to keep their post offices open.

For instance, even though the postmistress in Ballydesmond, north Co Cork will retire end of this month after 31 years, it will not be the end of the post office in the town.

After a campaign by local people, shopkeeper Seamus Kearney will re-open the post office in an extension to his Centra store a little further along the main street.

But Rockchapel is a village 20km from Ballydesmond with its post office is under threat.

Postmaster Henry Keogh says Rockchapel post office will suffer the same fate as many others unless urgent action is taken.

An Post is currently working on a plan for its future which will be published at the end of May.