Naughten calls on CEO to intervene in postal row

Roscommon eircodes listed as Westmeath

Fine Gael councillor John Naughten has called on Acting Chief Executive of Roscommon County Council Shane Tiernan to intervene in the ongoing issue of postal delays in the Monksland area.

Cllr. Naughten said there was “much annoyance” in Monksland and surrounding areas due to postal delays caused by mail being addressed to Co. Roscommon.

He said the issue had arisen during the successful Save Roscommon campaign of 2016.

“Residents living in Co. Roscommon have told me that both post and parcels had been labelled as ‘delayed’ due to the wrong county being used on the address and ‘Athlone, Co. Westmeath’ being put on the (new) label beside it,” he said.

Cllr. Naughten called on Acting Chief Executive Shane Tiernan to intervene “once and for all” and said the delays and the issue of addressing mail in Monksland as Co. Westmeath was “totally unacceptable”.

“During the Save Roscommon campaign, it was made quite clear that the people of Monksland wanted to remain in County Roscommon,” he added.

During the meeting, Independent councillor Donal Kilduff highlighted further issues with the eircode finder service.

He told members that Roscommon addresses such as Monksland, Bealnamulla, and Hill of Berries were listed as Co. Westmeath.

“The Athlone Municipal District Office is also listed as Westmeath,” he said, questioning whether something more “sinister” was afoot.

“I remember my father (former councillor, Paddy Kilduff) being very animated once about these issues. I remember him saying they were just trying to acclimatise the people for a takeover (of South Roscommon by Westmeath County Council). Of course I thought he was being paranoid but sure enough, a takeover bid was launched,” he added.

Cllr. Tony Ward said he had raised a similar motion a number of years ago and said the issue was not unique to Monksland.

“I don’t know what part of ‘Roscommon’ they don’t understand. I would hope that the Chief Executive would be in touch with An Post,” he said.

“We received a commitment from An Post back then that this wouldn’t happen again”.

Cllr. Emer Kelly said there were similar issues along the Galway border and proposed that those areas also be included in Cllr. Naughten’s motion while Cllr. John Keogh said it was “utterly offensive to have Roscommon struck off addresses to be replaced by Westmeath”.

Cllr. Laurence Fallon said: “We are not County Westmeath and we have no desire to be Westmeath. This is not acceptable and it is disappointing that An Post have not definitively solved this”.

Fianna Fáil councillor and local postman, Joe Murphy, said the issue of county addresses was not unique to South Roscommon and caused similar problems in border towns such as Rooskey (via Carrick-on-Shannon sorting office) and Tarmonbarry (via Longford sorting office).

He said delays were most likely occurring due to confusion over which sorting offices are responsible for the delivery of mail in these areas.

“What happens is the post labelled Roscommon comes into Roscommon and we can’t send it to Athlone with that address on it because it will come back to us so not alone will it be late one day, it’ll be late by two days. What I normally do when I come across this is put ‘Via Athlone/Westmeath’ on it and that should cover it,” he said.

“By all means write to An Post because I wouldn’t like if this was happening to me”.