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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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Top tips for staying cool

  • Keep out of the heat. Stay inside during the hottest time of the day – late morning to mid-afternoon. If you do go out, wear a hat and keep to the shade as much as possible. It’s very important to use sun screen of at least factor 15.
  • If you are travelling by car or public transport always take a bottle of water.
  • Avoid strenuous activity and limit activities like housework and gardening to the early morning or evening when it’s cooler.
  • When inside, try to stay in the coolest parts of your home. Keep curtains and blinds closed in rooms that catch the sun. Remember that lights generate heat. Keep windows shut while it’s cooler inside than out and open them when it gets hotter inside. If it’s safe, you could leave a window open at night when it’s cooler. Fans can help sweat evaporate but do not cool the air itself.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-coloured cotton clothing.
  • Take cool baths or showers.
  • Splash your face with cold water or place a damp cloth or scarf on the back of your neck to help you cool off.
  • Drink lots of fluid – even if you’re not thirsty. Limit drinks with caffeine (like coffee and cola) and avoid alcohol as it can increase dehydration.
  • Eat normally but try to have more cold foods, particularly salads and fruit as they contain a lot of water.

Dehydration and overheating

Extreme heat and humidity can cause you to dehydrate and your body to overheat. Watch out for certain signs: particularly for muscle cramps in your arms, legs or stomach, mild confusion, weakness or sleep problems. If you have any of these, rest in a cool place and drink plenty of fluids. Seek medical advice if your symptoms persist or worsen.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke

The symptoms of heat exhaustion include headaches, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, pale skin, heavy sweating and a high temperature.

If you have any of these symptoms you must:

  • find a cool place and loosen tight clothes
  • drink plenty of water or fruit juice
  • sponge yourself with cold water or have a cool shower.

If you’re having difficulty, or your symptoms persist for several hours, seek medical advice. Heatstroke can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated - but it can also develop suddenly and without warning. The symptoms of heatstroke include hot and red skin, headaches, nausea, intense thirst, raised temperature, confusion, aggression and loss of consciousness. Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition.

So if you or someone else shows symptoms:

  • call 999 immediately or 112 if you are in the European Union (you can call 112 from a mobile for free). If you have a community or personal alarm press the button on your pendant to call for help.
  • while waiting for the ambulance, follow the advice given above for heat exhaustion but do not try to give fluids to anyone who is unconscious.

Further information

If you live alone consider asking a relative or friend to visit or phone to check that you are not having difficulties during periods of extreme heat.

  • If you know a neighbour who lives alone, check they are ok.
  •  Check for weather forecasts and temperature warnings on TV and radio, and online at  https://www.met.ie/warnings
  • If you have breathing problems or a heart condition your symptoms might get worse when it’s very hot.
  • For further advice about heat-related illness contact your GP.

Summer Raffle Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our Summer Raffle. We're so grateful to everyone who participated and who raised more than 18,000 euro to support older people in Ireland.

This year's winners were:

1st Prize winner €1,500

S Deegan, Dublin

2nd Prize winner €1,000

A Parks, Dublin

3rd Prize winner €500

M Dangerfield, Dublin

And the winner of our Sellers Prize was:

Sellers Prize €100

M Kane, Galway, €100

Thank you to all who supported the raffle, this is one of our biggest and most reliable fundraisers, so your support makes all the difference.

 


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How Rialto Post Office was saved | Age Action

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