Naomi Long MLA said: “These closures could rip the heart out of communities across Northern Ireland.
“This will hit the most vulnerable people in our society hardest of all. In rural areas, older people and those who do not own cars may face near-impossible journeys to reach their local post office. Post offices provide a number of vital functions, and these closures will leave many people without important services.
“Today’s devastating news will increase social exclusion and damage community cohesion. The local post office is often the focal point of any community. With this resource gone, this vital sense of community may be lost forever. The loss of a post office in small villages will also have a knock-on effect on other businesses. Local economies could be significantly damaged as shoppers will go to bigger towns where a post office is located.
“While I recognise that times have been tough and efficiencies need to be made, Royal Mail must look to radical ways of maintaining some form of service in affected areas. They should be further exploring the possibility of sharing offices with other businesses, to preserve services. Alliance will be keeping the pressure on Royal Mail to try and get them to respond more effectively to the needs of local communities.
“There are Councils in the UK that are in talks with the Post Office regarding potential for bringing post office services together with council services. We will be in contact with those Councils to see if there is any scope for such arrangements to make a difference in our local situation, particularly in rural or isolated communities.”