herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Row over who cut the lifeline of local library

A ROW has erupted among councillors in south Dublin over the closure of a vital library service.

Sallynoggin Branch Library, the area's only full-time library, is to close on Wednesday.

Fine Gael blames the closure on a staff embargo which means a retiring librarian in Sallynoggin cannot be replaced, but a Fianna Fail councillor insists the closure could have been prevented by the council.

Cllr John Bailey (FG) has insisted that councillors were not able to salvage the library, saying the decision to close was taken by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council management.

But Cllr Cormac Devlin (FF) who campaigned against the closure, insists that in the 2010 Council Budget Fine Gael and Labour councillors voted against keeping it open.

"The councillors who voted for this in the Budget meeting say it's an executive decision but the councillors still supported it.

"Sallynoggin has traditionally been seen as a deprived area and to close it is nothing short of a scandal," he said

"Fine Gael is not closing the library. The problem is that the Government has an embargo on staff. We're trying to get volunteers to go from April 12 to work in the library," Cllr Bailey said. A new voluntary community library will operate four hours a week in the Holy Child Community School in Sallynoggin. A DLRCC spokesperson said local authorities face huge challenges in relation to staffing, with approximately 20pc of library posts unfilled.

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment confirmed that it only funds capital projects in the Library service, not staffing, but said: "There is a general control of (staffing) numbers across the Public Service, and local authorities must operate within these constraints."

hnews@herald.ie

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