Sunday 25 February 2018

People Power

John Manning

Plans to relocate library look set to be shelves

PEOPLE power has spoken for the third time in a year in Balbriggan as it appears the people of the town have succeeded in reversing another controversial county council proposal through the weight and intensity of their public protest.

First they succeeded in saving their precious beach huts, then they saved the town's library from having severe cuts to its operating hours and now it seems, the people of Balbriggan has stopped a controversial proposal to move that library to a new home, dead in its tracks.

The community was celebrating yesterday with news coming from the Department of Social Protection, that the department was no longer interested in establishing an Intreo office for jobseekers and potential employers in the Town Hall and was looking for 'more appropriate' accommodation in the town for the project.

The news, revealed in a letter sent from Minister Joan Burton to Brendan Ryan TD (Lab), and seen by the Fingal Independent appears to kill the controversial proposal to move the library out of the town square to Gallen's Mills, to make way for the Intreo office at the Town Hall.

The letter from Minister Burton states: 'It is the Office of the Public Works, as manager of the State's property portfolio, which has responsibility for identifying and procuring suitable locations for the centres.

'In terms of the Intreo rollout, the OPW identifies and procures locations in keeping with the Department's requirements.

'While using the library premises has been considered as an option, the department is now of the view that an alternative location would be more appropriate.

'The department's officials are now engaging with the OPW with a view to identifying a location which would best meet the department's requirements.'

Reacting to the news, one of the lead campaigners bidding to keep the Balbriggan Library at the Town Hall, Brigid Dervan, said: 'This proposal has backfired on the council because all it succeeded in doing was putting fire into the belly of the people of Balbriggan.'

'I think they are beginning to realise we are a force to be reckoned with,' she added.

The campaign will not rest until the council confirms the library will stay at its current location and is ready to present a petition with thousands of signatures to the local authority at an emergency meeting of the local area committee on Wednesday at County Hall.

Deputy Ryan, welcomed the news and said that it was not time for the Office of Public Works to stop 'dragging its feet' and find an appropriate location for the Intreo office in Balbriggan.

Minister Burton said that office, once established would be 'a significant asset to Balbriggan, as it will help jobseekers return to work, education and training, which will benefit themselves, their families and the local community'.

Fingal Independent

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