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Gildernew expresses concerns about impact of Post Office closure plan on Rural Areas

4 April, 2008

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA has responded to the recent announcement about Post Office closures.

The Minister said that she will be meeting postal services watchdog Postwatch NI and Post Office Ltd to discuss and seek clarification on the impact that this announcement will have on rural areas.

She said:

"I am concerned that this announcement could impact heavily on rural areas. There are important issues that need to be taken into account as this programme of closures is rolled out - issues such as rural isolation and accessibility, the effect on the less mobile or elderly, and employment in rural areas.

"I understand there are to be around 27 closures in rural areas and that there are proposals to replace 54 rural Post Offices with an outreach service. Although this may mean no change for some customers, I note that some mobile and hosted services will only be available once a week to certain areas. This could mean a severe restriction of services to some people. I intend to look at these proposals very carefully in the coming weeks to ascertain the full impact that these changes will have." ENDS

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