"Not a voluntary decision" - Family-run post office in Cork closes after 160 years 2 months ago

"Not a voluntary decision" - Family-run post office in Cork closes after 160 years

"We are heartbroken. We're closing the doors on our friends, on the community."

Last month, the full list of 159 post offices closed across Ireland was released.

Among them, Ballineen Post Office in west Cork, which has been in operation for 160 years.

On Friday, the doors of the popular rural establishment closed to the public for the last time.

Speaking to Patricia Messinger on C103's Cork Today show, Fionala O'Driscoll expressed her sorrow at the closure of the post office that her late father ran for 44 years.

Her mother Marian, a retired teacher, had been running things since last January.

On the phone from the post office itself, O'Driscoll said the mood was both warm and strange, with people coming and going all morning.

O'Driscoll's family have disputed claims from An Post that the decision to shut down was a voluntary one.

"My mother got offered a small payment of redundancy," noted Finola.

"She basically got offered a figure per her time in the post office for six months. My father ran the post office for 44 years and unfortunately he passed away, she wasn't offered what she was entitled to."

Messinger then mused that closing up wasn't likely an easy decision taken by the family.

"It wasn't, no," confirmed Finola. "Seven days after dad passed away, we were told that the post office was facing closure. After that, the community gathered together for a public meeting.

"Everyone was so supportive; sending letters to An Post's head office saying that they wanted to keep it open. We had offered to take it over if we had the option, but we weren't given that option."

Fionola said that her mother wanted to enjoy retirement having worked as a teacher for 35 years, and that her father had known that the post office might eventually be closed, "but he didn't live to see it".

Messinger summed up the situation as a "heartless" way to treat a family that kept the post office running over the years.

"Of course," said Finola. "We are heartbroken. We're closing the doors on our friends, on the community. An Post itself is a great service; I worked here for four years and I'll still continue to use the post office, it's just a shame that I won't be here to do it myself."

You can listen to the interview in full below.