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Good news for Strathroy Post Office overshadowed by rural closures

3 June, 2008

Sinn Féin has welcomed the decision that Strathroy Post Office in Omagh has secured a reprieve but says that this good news has been overshadowed by the news that none of the rural branches throughout Tyrone that were identified for closure have received a similar reprieve.

Speaking in relation to the news that Strathroy Post Office is to remain open, local Sinn Fein Councillor Martin McColgan said,

"There is a massive sense of relief that the local Post Office which serves not only the community in Strathroy but also surrounding communities in Shergrim, Gortin Road and Lisanelly Estate will continue to provide the essential service that it has done down through the years.

"There was complete and utter disbelief in this area that Post Office had earmarked for closure in the first place given that it serves such a large catchments area across the north side of Omagh and along with Barry Mc Elduff MLA and Cllr Sean Begley we organised for representatives of the Post Office to come and listen to the case of the local community for its retention.

"At this meeting Sinn Fein representatives along with: local residents; representatives of Strathroy Community Group; the local shopkeeper; and the Urban Development Officer of Omagh District Council collectively impressed upon Post Office officials the case that while this part of the town has been isolated to a degree in the past, that it will now be central focus of regeneration and integration with the rest of the town with the Lisanelly and St Lucia sites now being opened up for existing new developments, as well as the fact that this side of the town continues to be a residential growth area.

"Obviously the Post Office officials could not ignore the strength of the case that was presented to them and I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to everyone concerned in helping to turn this situation around."

However, speaking in relation to the many rural communities throughout Tyrone and across the north who have lost their local Post Office Branch due to today's announcement his party colleague Seán Begley said,

"Despite the many representations that were made to the Post Office in an effort to save these rural branches they have fallen on deaf ears. This will further increase the growing sense of isolation for many rural communities felt by the loss of yet another essential service.

It is crucial therefore that the 'mobile outreach service' for these areas, that the Post Office is now promising, is meaningful. One way of doing this, and to ensure the long term sustainability of these outreach services will be to make sure that they are integrated into existing infrastructure in rural areas like existing retail outlets, community centres etc." ENDS

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