A NEW contract has been secured for the post office in the South Kilkenny village of Inistioge, the future of which has been widely speculated about in recent weeks.
Many locals in Inistioge, which has already lost its Garda station, had claimed they would have to travel to either Graiguenamanagh or Thomastown to avail of a similar level of service.
However, An Post has confirmed that a new five-year contract is to be advertised shortly.
Local Fine Gael Councillor Michael Doyle said the news represented a victory for people power.
“This is fantastic news for Inistioge and for everyone who campaigned to keep this critical service in our community,” said Cllr Doyle, who was also chairman of a committee formed to help retain the service.
“We have lost our Garda Station and that building has now been sold. Nobody wanted to see a second service go.”
An Post had posted a public notice in relation to Inistioge Post Office earlier this summer in which the company said it was considering future options for the post office, including permanent closure.
The company invited any interested parties to submit their views on the matter.
Although there is a post office in The Rower, Cllr Doyle said locals would have had to travel miles to enjoy a similar level of service to that which they enjoyed in Inistioge.
“This is a great victory for our local community and for rural Ireland. So many parts of rural Ireland are under threat but with Deputy (John Paul) Phelan, we worked to ensure we maintained our service,” he said.
“We are very thankful to the retiring postmistress Kitty Drea who has given 50 years of service to the community and is more than entitled to put her feet up. We are particularly delighted that An Post has decided to award a five-year contract for this service. It gives the new business owner a chance to really build the business.”
Cllr Doyle said: “We will be keeping our action group together and educating people about the service the post office offers and encouraging them to use it so we support whoever will take over the business.”
Deputy John Paul Phelan said he was thrilled that the right decision had been made. “The post office is so much part of the fabric of a local community. We wish Kitty Drea the very best in her retirement and I’m delighted with An Post’s decision and delighted this service will be maintained and supported within this community,” he said.