No ‘takers’ for Post Office job

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 20th September 2012 -  Picture by  Russell Pritchard / Presseye.com

Ken Bloomfield has written about an old-fashioned old post box in Cultra, north Down.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 20th September 2012 - Picture by Russell Pritchard / Presseye.com Ken Bloomfield has written about an old-fashioned old post box in Cultra, north Down.

There are still no applicants to take over the Birches Post Office, despite the position having lain vacant for almost a year.

The Post Office, in Robinsonstown, closed temporarily in July 2015 and since then there have been no formal applications for the post.

In a recent letter to the chief executive of ABC Council, Mandy Donaldson, field change advisor for the Post Office, said she had visited the village several times in the bid to restore services locally.

She asked the council to contact her with any suggestions that would help her to do so.

A Post Office spokesperson said, “Following the temporary closure of The Birches Post Office after the premises was withdrawn for Post Office use in July 2015, we have been working hard to find a permanent location for the Post Office and maintain services in the area.

“Unfortunately since the closure, we have been unable to identify a suitable solution. We know how important Post Office services are to people in Portadown, and we are committed to maintaining services in the area. We apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused and thank them for their understanding.”

The spokesperson added the intention would be to place a ‘local’ Post Office inside either an existing or new retail outlet, but so far there has been no interest in the “potential business opportunity”.

Up until four years ago, the Post Office had been run for 40 years by local woman Rae Liggett, with her late husband John managing the shop alongside it.

And for 20 years before that, the Post Office was run by her father, Samuel George Ritchie, in the family home on the Clonmakate Road.

Said Rae, “We had great years there. John loved the shop and we knew everybody, and when we gave it up it was still successful.”

A local resident said the Post Office had been very convenient for older people, and that with a new housing estate being built there were more young families moving to the area.