21/04/2017

Political Parties To Blame For Failure Of Libraries

NI's political parties are to be blame for the deterioration of libraries, NIPSA has said.

The union has reacted angrily to the news that the baseline budget to Libraries NI will be cut by a further 5% this year, pointing the finger of blame firmly at the political parties.

Assistant Secretary, Paddy Mackel said: "Once again we see the reality of the impact of political failure reaching into the heart of the local community. When political parties fail to agree, refuse to respect each other and ignore the rights of citizens to be treated equally it is always ordinary workers, their families and the most vulnerable who suffer.

"With almost half of all children and young people using libraries, as well as 1 in 4 adults, a significant number of migrant workers, pensioners and those citizens living in communities of multiple deprivation, political failure hits these people the hardest. The community as a whole recognises the significant benefits which libraries bring to everyone in our villages, towns and cities regardless of colour, community background or country of origin. In many cases it is the gel which maintains communities cohesion.

"You can’t keep attacking funding to a vital community service like libraries without an inevitable damaging impact in the medium to longer term."

The announcement today by Libraries NI confirms that almost £5.5m has been cut from its budget over the last 4 years, which is a staggering 17% over that period, which has significantly hampered the ability of the organisation to provide the same high level of service to the public.

Concluding, Paddy Mackel said: "NIPSA will continue to fight to maintain this community service as we have done so over many years. We will protect our members' interests while at the same time challenging the irresponsibility of political parties who seem to care little for the citizens they have been elected to work on behalf of. Shame on them!"

(MH)

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