End of a way of life as post offices face brutal cuts
It has emerged that 42 post office branches are earmarked for closure. There was fury yesterday after it was also announced that another 54 branches are to be redesignated as 'outreach' services.
Sub-postmaster John Leonard, who took over the Garvery branch just outside Enniskillen last year, said the elderly and members of the farming community would be worst affected by the sweeping changes.
"When you get to 70 years of age do you really want to be going into the centre of Enniskillen and standing in a queue for 25 minutes? It's just cruelty to the elderly," he said.
"What are farming people supposed to do? Are they supposed to march into town with their cattle trailer and a four-wheel drive jeep to get a stamp?"
But Post Office Ltd says it is being forced into the move by changing trends.
"Our business is at a very crucial point," said Sheila McCann, Post Office Ltd's Network Development Manager for Northern Ireland.
"We're losing money, we are dropping customer numbers and that's because the world is changing. People pay their bills online or use email, so our business has to change in line with a changing world."