Westmeath Topic: 5 May, 2016 YOUR LOCAL NEWSPAPER Thursday, 5 May, 2016 • Issue No. 2305 • www.topic.ie MADE €2 WELL WORTHIT! IN WESTMEATH Greene Farm Charity Sportive success INSIDE Eric Craig retirement celebrations LOCAL POST OFFICES FACING CLOSURE? “If we lost social welfare, we’d all be gone” - Postmistress Wedding of Tina Monaghan and Alan McDonald Kinnegad Confirmations The smaller rural post offices in Westmeath, like Ballynacargy, Coole, Ballymore, Multyfarnham, Killucan, Collinstown, Kinnegad, Rathowen, Raharney, Delvin and Streamstown, may all face closure, if plans by the Department of Social Affairs to transfer various welfare payments to the banks go ahead, as at present envisaged. Casual workers, or those working part-time, can receive their social welfare payment by cheque to their home under the current system. The government wants to change this practice and instead pay the money directly into bank accounts. Recipients of these payments have each received letters asking them for their bank details, and this has upset the post offices, and confused recipients. According to Vincent Harney, Midlands spokesperson for the Irish Postmaster’s Union (IPU): “Social Protection transactions account for 30 per cent of all post office business and an estimated 50 per cent, including spin off transactions.” The Irish Postmasters’ Union (IPU) has accused the Department of Social Protection of ‘systematically transferring post office business to the private banks - and called on the Minister and government to immediately end this policy and reverse it. Postmasters have indicated that customers believe they have no choice and are being forced to go to the banks, where they face bank charges when they collect their payments. Vincent Harney said that the outgoing Minister Burton had refused to withdraw the letters and to cease the transfer of post office business to the banks. LOCAL VIEWS Lorraine Tormey is the post mistress in Rathowen post office and also at Buckley’s in Mullingar. “Social welfare is a huge part of post office business. It’s the main business and we’d all be gone if this was taken away,” she told Westmeath Topic this week. According to Ms. Tormey, people don’t realise that they can still get their payments and cash their cheques at the post office, because they are not being informed or encouraged to do so by the government. She is hoping that the new government elected will change this CONTINUED ON PAGE 16 Gaelscoil an Mhuilinn pupils Pádraig Ó Cathasaigh, Haley Ní Mhaoilbheannaigh and Mollie Ní Dhorchaí pictured with their award of participation for their school’s production - ‘An Gréasaí agus na Leipreacháin’ at the Finals of an Cumann Scoildrámaíochta in Mullingar Arts Centre last week Drugs worth €6,000 recovered in Mullingar Call 087 7678283 Free Registration @ The Lir Music Academy On Thursday last, 28 April, a car was stopped by Gardaí at Glenview, Mullingar and in a subsequent search of the vehicle, drugs with a value of €6,000 were recovered. Two occupants were travelling in the car at the time, a male and a female. An amount of different types of drugs were recovered, with a quantity of cash. A man has been charged in relation to this matter and is expected to appear before the court in Mullingar this week.
52 TOPIC • 5 May, 2016 SPORT SOCC
54 TOPIC • 5 May, 2016 SPORT LADI
56 TOPIC • 5 May, 2016 NEWS BY DA