It is very disappointing to hear of further serious blows to services to rural Ireland today with news that 80 rural post offices and up to 30 Ulster Bank branches are to close. With all the talk of the revival of rural Ireland in recent months, these announcements fly in the face of what we have heard and it is clear that the Government is talking out of both sides of it’s mouth when it comes to rural issues.
The Bobby Kerr report on the future of An Post has not yet been published but according to media reports today 80 post offices will be closed and it will be interesting to learn what proportion of those closures are planned for the west of Ireland. It is also very disappointing to hear that Ultser Bank will close up to 30 branches mainly in rural areas. A lot of the loans that Ulster Bank were holding have now been sold off to vulture funds and they have abandoned the people who supported them over the years.
With all the great talk about rural renewal we had proposals to cut bus routes last week and this week there are announcements of post office and bank closures. What will be next? Either the Government is serious about supporting rural Ireland or it isin’t and on this evidence today it certainly is not.