Fianna Fáil Longford General Election Candidate, Cllr Joe Flaherty has called on the OPW and Department of Rural & Community Development to set aside funding for the refurbishment and extension of the library building in Longford Town.
Cllr. Flaherty made the call following the recent announcement by Minister Ring of an additional €1.15m to bring the total funding for the new Edgeworthstown library building to €2.4m.
“I applaud the efforts to increase library participation levels. Nationally, library participation is at just 17% and it is right that the Government is targeting an increase to 30%. However, Longford has the second highest participation rate in the country and this is thanks largely to the passion and commitment of the library staff and management.
“The Longford Town library is one of the busiest in the country and would benefit greatly from a refurbishment and extension, argued Cllr Flaherty.
“We have already seen extensive works in the branches in Granard and Ballymahon whilst the Edgeworthstown project will create one of the most modern libraries in Ireland. It is vital that the Longford branch is also earmarked for the necessary investment.
“A strong library service is at the front line when it comes to targeting inequality and marginalised communities and in this regard Longford Town library has led the way. It is vital now that efforts are made to ensure that the necessary funding to safeguard and augment this work comes on stream.
“The current Libraries Capital Programme will run until 2022 and I am determined that the Longford Town refurbishment must feature in this current round of funding.
“The Edgeworthstown project has been a number of years in gestation so momentum is needed now to ensure that the Longford Town refurbishment and extension is delivered. The land needed to facilitate an extension is already in place. Not only will this reduce the cost of but can also speed up the overall project,” concluded Flaherty.