Alliance describes Libraries NI meeting over Cregagh cuts as ‘constructive’

Alliance Party representatives from South and East Belfast, including East Belfast MP Naomi Long and South Belfast Cllr Catherine Curran, today met the Chief Executive of Libraries NI, Irene Knox, to discuss proposals to cut the number of hours at Cregagh Library by a quarter, from 40 to 30 hours per week. Cllr Michael Long described the meeting as ‘constructive’ and expressed his hope that the proposal would be reconsidered.

Cllr Michael Long said: “During the meeting we highlighted the fact that in their own documentation Libraries NI identified that libraries affected significantly by the Stage 1 strategic review of provision, because they are close to libraries that have been closed, should only have their opening hours reviewed again in September 2012; however, Cregagh Library has not been afforded this protection, despite the fact that during public meetings on the Stage 1 consultation, library users in Braniel and Gilnahirk, both of which ultimately closed, were told they should use Cregagh Library as an alternative.

“We also stressed the fact that the library provides a very valuable service in the local community and I remember the great benefits that I experienced as a child in being able to attend Cregagh Library on a regular basis. We highlighted our concerns that on previous occasions in Castlereagh we have seen a reduction in hours leading to the eventual closure of a library. During the meeting we explored how we could help to increase community participation and we hope that this constructive meeting will lead to Libraries NI reversing their proposal to cut library hours. In the meantime, we would encourage people to show their commitment to the service by making sure that they use it on a regular basis.”


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