Updated: 08/03/17 : 06:13:05
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Ballymote and Ballygawley face bank and PO closure

There is palpable fear in Ballymote and Ballygawley as rural towns and villages across the country are set for a massive blow as large-scale closures of post offices and bank branches are on the cards.

A report for the Government on the future of post offices has recommended the closure of 80 post offices.

Ballygawley residents are still waiting for a decision by An Post to see if their post office is to remain open following a review notice served on the 11th November 2016 following the death of the local Postmaster Colm Mc Tiernan.

On 7th December the Save Ballygawley Post Office campaigners met with An Post senior management in Castledargan Hotel, Ballygawley.

At that meeting the campaigners were informed that they would receive news on the retention status of the post office by, at the latest, the third week of January.

Almost two months later, no formal communication has yet been received from An Post.

In a strongly worded letter to An Post this week, Thomas Walsh, chairman of the campaign wrote, “I ask you to treat the issue with the utmost importance.

“Following a meeting of the campaign last week it was agreed to formally write to you seeking an immediate update on the future of Ballygawley Post Office.

“Our post office plays a pivotal role in the heart of the Ballygawley and wider community both in terms of social and economic impact. The closure of Ballygawley PO will add to 5 the number closed in the last 5 years within a 30 mile radius. Geevagh, Sooey, Ballintogher, Keash and Castlebaldwin. It is the heart of our village and we cannot lose it.

“You will be aware that over 1,500 people signed a petition, over 1,000 letters of support were sent to An Post during the review period, as well as hundreds of people attending a public demonstration evening.

“Therefore I would ask that we are communicated with as soon as possible and shown the respect our community deserves.”

Mr Walsh has also recently lobbied the Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the plight of the community.

 
















Thomas Walsh speaks to Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Sligo last Friday regarding the Ballygawley PO

Bank

In nearby Ballymote it is believed that the Ulster Bank branch in the town will not escape a closure order in the latest round of cutbacks by the bank.

In July 2014 staff at the Pearse Road branch were informed that their branch would be closing along with a further 14 branches and sub-offices across Ireland.

Ulster Bank said at the time that closures were in response to “changing customer behaviours”, particularly through the use of mobile and online banking.

Over recent years the south Sligo branch appears to have been downgraded with staffing reductions and many business accounts transferred to Galway for administration. 
















                                         Ulster Bank Ballymote. Photo: SligoToday.ie

Wage Bill

Meanwhile An Post has told the Government it will face cash-flow difficulties next month unless it can immediately increase the price of stamps.

Ministers say the company will be unable to meet its €10 million-a-week wage bill in April unless it receives an immediate cash injection through increasing the price of stamps.

The legislation to abolish a cap on the price of stamps passed through its final stages in the Seanad last night,Tuesday 7 March, and is expected to be signed into law by the President in the coming days.

The price of a basic stamp will increase from the current price of 72 cents to more than €1.