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Post Offices closures will impact on local communities

10 March, 2004

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew MLA has said that the closure of Post Offices is ripping the heart out of rural and urban communities.

Ms Gildernew said:

"The announcement that a further 21 post offices face closure is a body blow to local communities that rely on the services offered by the local post office. There are also concerns that there will be a knock on impact on local shopping areas where the loss of one significant business will then lead to less business for other local businesses - creating a negative ripple effect.

"Despite assurances that this is only a consultation there is a well founded fear that the Post Office will not listen to the concerns of local communities or their political representatives.

"Given the disastrous way that the switch over to electronic payment of benefits is being handled we need to ask whether this move it premature.

"This will hit hardest the vulnerable in our society - the elderly in particular who rely on Post Office. People who cannot afford to pay to travel to the nearest Post Office will be disadvantaged and in areas where there are sectarian tensions people will view this announcement with dismay.

"Independent research shows that Post Offices remain at the heart of many communities but that closures result in people using post offices less and less. The implication for the long term viability of remaining post offices cannot be under estimated." ENDS

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