THREE post offices in Laois have been earmarked for closure.
Some people in the three villages concerned may now have to travel to Carlow, Kilkenny or Kildare to conduct their business.
The post offices in Crettyard, Ballinakill and Ballybrittas were among 159 others nationwide that will close their doors following a deal between An Post and the Irish Postmasters’ Union.
Making the announcement last week, An Post said the post offices that will close are in locations where fewer than 500 people live and are within 15km of at least one other post office.
An Post also said that when Crettyard post office closes, local people can travel to the nearest alternative, which is in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, a distance of 7.1km, or to other post offices within 15km of the village. These include Ballylinan, Bilboa and Carlow town.
Regarding the closure in Ballinakill, An Post said that people can instead travel 5.9km to the nearest town, Abbeyleix, to conduct their business. Alternatives are Attanagh, Durrow and Cullohill, or Ballyragget and Castlecomer in Co Kilkenny.
For people in the Ballybrittas area, An Post said that the nearest post office is located in Monasterevin, Co Kildare, a distance of 6.6km. Other post offices within a 15km radius include those in Portarlington, Stradbally, Portlaoise or Mountmellick.
Reacting to the news, Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley said that the closures will have a detrimental impact on rural Ireland.
He said: “While we understand this is a voluntary retirement scheme backed by the Irish Postmasters’ Union, the government has shown no interest in keeping our post office network alive and viable.
“Unfortunately, successive governments under both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have decided that our post office network is not worth saving.”