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How Rialto Post Office was saved

Age Action | Staff
Written by: Phil Cooley
Information Officer
16/02/2018

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Age Action information officer Phil Cooley explains how her local community rallied round to save their local post office.

How Rialto Post Office was saved

On 24 November 2016 there was a large queue of people chatting outside the post office in Rialto where people went to collect pensions, disability and other social welfare payments, pay bills and carry out banking.

A note on the door said that the post office was closed for business and offered Dolphin’s Barn as an alternative.

Rialto has a large number of older people and others who depend on the post office. Many with mobility issues use rollators and Zimmer frames. Accessing Dolphin’s Barn was very difficult.

They were using taxis they couldn’t afford to get their pension. One older resident told me she, “wouldn’t be able to pay towards her heating this week as it went on the taxi”.

The closure was done without notice or any form of consultation, just a note stuck on the door.

Another issue was the detrimental effect the removal of the post office would have on the local businesses which always benefitted from its proximity.

If this sudden move from Rialto to Dolphin’s Barn became permanent it would lead to loss of community spirit and dereliction of the local area. For many people the post office was the only place they might talk to someone all week. 

Campaign formed

A small group of local residents, myself included, gathered in our local community centre to form a campaign and we wrote to An Post to seek a meeting.

That Saturday we started collecting signatures on a petition to reopen Rialto Post Office and we did so every Saturday at the Rialto shops throughout Christmas.

Though we never met with An Post they were very aware of our campaign as it gathered momentum.

We produced banners and fliers with the help of local businesses. I would also like to thank our local elected representatives – from all parties – who were very supportive of the campaign and contacted An Post directly.

In late January 2017 we learned that it was not An Post’s intention to terminate the post office service in Rialto but they needed a new location.

This was good news and very hopeful but we needed to be vigilant to be sure we did get our post office back. We kept in contact with suitable businesses in the area and we continued our campaigning. 

Re-opened

In early April we learned that Rialto Centra had been successful with the tender and it reopened on 12 June.

We continued the campaign for a few weeks urging people to now use the service and return to Rialto Post Office.

Our very strong campaign lasted seven months with great local support and we were thanked even by the few who said during our petitioning "sure you’re wasting your time, it’ll never happen, it’s gone”.

I wanted to tell you the story of our campaign as a way of acknowledging all of the local people and representatives who supported us.

For more than seven months, right through winter and spring, we collected signatures, ran stalls and organised meetings. Many told us we were wasting our time and that the post office would never come back.

While I am proud our campaign succeeded, I know similar campaigns in other places have not, and I believe communities should not have to fight so hard to protect our essential services.

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Comments

Since the Sandymount PO closed some pensioners have to go to Ballsbridge n a taxi to colect their pensions.

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World Refugee Day

 Today, June 20th is World Refugee Day. The number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million in 2018. This is the highest level that UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has seen in its almost 70 years. Data from UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, released this week shows that almost 70.8 million people are now forcibly displaced. To put this in perspective, this is double the level of 20 years ago, 2.3 million more than a year ago, and corresponds to a population between that of Thailand and Turkey.   Today, older refugees make up some 8.5 per cent of the overall population of concern to UNHCR, and by 2050 more of the world will be over 60 than under 12. Older refugees experience an additional burden due to their age and associated conditions. In a report published by the Centre for Policy on Ageing and Age UK, they identified that “the main issues facing older refugees and asylum seekers are low income, the language barrier, the risk of loneliness and a lack of social networks, and possibly a loss of social status”.  Reduced mobility and a high number of chronic medical conditions also greatly impact the life of an older refugee, as adequate and culturally appropriate healthcare is often difficult to access. As well, throughout their time in refugee shelters, older refugees are also more likely to experience social disintegration, the impact of negative social selection and chronic dependency on the resources of refugee shelters. According to the International Federation on Ageing “The contributions of older refugees can have far-reaching impacts on the preservation of the cultures and traditions of disposed and displaced people. The wisdom and experiences of older refugees must be harnessed through formal and informal leadership roles, to improve the welfare of all refugees”. Marion MacGregor, writing for InfoMigrants says “Older refugees can be seen as an asset, rather than simply requiring special care. In many families, it falls to them to look after children so that their parents can work….. Older people are transmitters of culture, skills and crafts that are important in preserving traditions of displaced people. The resilience of older people can help to strengthen communities and they can contribute to positive and peace-building interactions with the local host communities.”