Limerick County Council adamant library must close

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

LIMERICK County Council has dug in its heels over the closure of Ballingarry library.

LIMERICK County Council has dug in its heels over the closure of Ballingarry library.

Councillors and community representatives from Ballingarry have learned that the library is to close and the village will be served in future by the mobile library.

The community representatives were reluctant to comment publicly on the matter in advance of a public meeting which will take place in the village next week. And Fine Gael councillors who attended the meeting are also maintaining silence about the details.

“We do not wish to go into the details at this time as the Ballingarry representative group have to relate the proposals to the public in Ballingarry and we the Fine Gael councillors respect the time and space needed for this to happen,” Fine Gael councillors from both the Rathkeale and Newcastle West electoral areas said in a statement.

On Tuesday last, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail councillors met with county manager Gerry Behan and county librarian Damien Brady for over an hour before the Ballingarry representatives were invited to join the meeting.

At that point, what the Fine Gael councillors called a “compromise solution” was put forward. “This proposal is aimed at providing a service that will complement a library service and a community service for the people of Ballingarry, ”the Fine Gael councillors said.

The Limerick Leader understands that part of this “compromise” entails a doubling of the mobile library service from the original three and a half hours to seven hours a week and that it would park outside the library building.

In addition, the library building would be given over to the community along with furniture and computers. The building could then be run by a formally constituted committee to host the adult and junior book clubs and other activities such as exhibitions, story-telling sessions and study hours. It is understood that the lease on the building would be offered free to the designated committee and some costs, but not insurance, would be covered at least for a period.

The mobile service would attend on Wednesday afternoons and on another day, to be decided, but would also make house calls or extra stops for those unable to travel.

But there would be no evening or weekend service as the mobile service operates between 9.30am and 4pm from Monday to Friday only.

It remains to be seen whether the community accepts this “compromise”, particularly given the level of anger expressed at a public meeting in Ballingarry last month.