Sinn Féin Councillor John Sheamais Ó Fearraigh has today reacted angrily and with sadness following the announcement from An Post that the closure of Bun na Leaca Post Office will now proceed after the decision to remove the service was formally upheld by the Independent panel charged with reviewing the case.
Criticising the outcome of the review, Cllr Ó Fearraigh said: “It is with regret that I have learned this morning about the outcome of the review into Bun na Leaca Post Office which has resulted in the decision to close the branch being upheld.
“It’s understood that the branch will now cease trading as and from 1st January 2019.
“Having spoken with some local residents, business owners and community groups in the village about today’s announcement, I can attest to the palpable sense of loss and anger felt by the community owing to this move.
“Just like many other villages and rural towns across the county that have been in similar situations and where the local post office has been threatened with closure, the local community here in Bun na Leaca have shown such remarkable courage throughout this period.
“In their submission to An Post, the local community made some very strong and persuasive arguments in favour of retaining the service in the village however, just like the rest of the appeals which have been decided to date in the county, the Independent Reviewer has opted to uphold An Post’s decision to shut the branch.
“This is the wrong decision in my view and it is one which further underscores the flawed nature of the review mechanism which was established by the firm to act as an independent decision maker.
“This appeals process was supposedly set up to examine the arguments put forward by communities, weigh up those arguments, and then make a determination on a case by case basis, yet what we have witnessed to date suggests that the review mechanism was a con job.
“The Government has been at pains to stress that the mechanism was entirely independent from Ministerial influence and that it would not be getting individual in decisions relating to individual closures and while that’s understandable, their entire response and disinterest in this process has been outrageous.
“They’ve treated rural communities with contempt and have chosen to act as gormless bystanders, happy to gawk while rural communities lose yet more vital services.
“The lack of success enjoyed by communities here that have submitted appeals against closures has shown that these moves have from the start been a fait accompli.
“This is very sad day for the people of Bun na Leaca, however I want to again commend all communities across Donegal who have not taken these closures lying down, even though it now appears the case that their efforts were in vain and doomed to fail from the very start.
“The government stand rightly accused of giving these communities false hope and that is simply unforgivable.”
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