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Post Office must be made to consider imaginative alternatives to rural closures - Begley

1 April, 2008


Omagh Sinn Féin Councillor Sean Begley says that if the Post Office proposals to close 21 branches in Tyrone are allowed to proceed the social and economic consequences for rural communities would just be as serious as the threat posed by the attempted imposition of Rural Planning Policy PPS 14 by the Direct Rule Administration.

However, Cllr Begley says that the Post Office must be made to consider imaginative alternatives to rural branch closures.

Cllr Begley said,

"Tyrone has borne the disproportionate brunt of these proposals with 21 branches out of the 96 earmarked for closure within the County. If they are allowed to proceed the social and economic consequences for our rural communities would just be as serious as the erstwhile threat posed by the attempted imposition of Rural Planning Policy PPS 14 by the Direct Rule Administration. Our rural post offices provide a key social hub not least for older people and if this vital community resource is lost it will have devastating consequences particularly in terms of increasing rural isolation.

"Faced with these threatened closures it is vital for local elected representatives and stakeholders in local rural communities to fight to their own corner in attempt to retain their local post office branch. However, a collective approach by everyone is just as important in fighting these proposals.

"Therefore, if the consultation into these proposals is to be 'meaningful,' as is claimed, then the Post Office must be made to consider imaginative solutions whereby Post Office services would be amalgamated with other local services in "One Stop Shop" facilities throughout our rural communities. I will be proposing this approach at Omagh District Council tonight and like the campaign against PPS 14, I will be seeking a joined up approach by all councils on the issue." ENDS

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