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Sinn Féin MLA meets unions over library staff cuts

11 January, 2005

Sinn Féin education spokesman, Newry Armagh MLA Davy Hyland has met with representatives from Unison and NIPSA to discuss the threatened closures of libraries and reductions of opening hours of libraries in the SELB area.

Meeting a delegation from the two unions, Mr. Hyland and Sinn Féin councillor, Brendan Lewis, acknowledged concern about proposed reductions in library services and the effects these would have not only for library staff but also for the public.

Mr Hyland said:

"It is vital that senior management in the SELB consult more fully with library staff and with their union representatives to ensure that those most affected by any proposed changes would have an opportunity to have their voices heard.

"It is important that the views of the library staff on the ground are taken into account by senior management. Sinn Féin would advocate a through consultation process that would allow for better communication between all concerned. There has been considerable disquiet about the proposed changes and it is imperative that concerns that have arisen are addressed in a straightforward manner for good relations to prevail.

"The impact of the loss of libraries and restriction in access to library services is bad news. Not only is it the loss of an important community resource there are also implications for young people accessing books and the other services that our libraries now provide. There are also serious implications of people trying to tackle the serious problems of adult literacy that we face." ENDS

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