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Stars campaign to save city library from closure

NOVELIST Maeve Binchy, actress Sinead Cusack and folk legend Christy Moore have joined forces to fight a decision to close a south Dublin library.

The top artists have lent their support to a campaign opposing the closure of Sallynoggin Public Library. The library, which had served the area for decades, is due to close on Wednesday, and the area will lose its only full-time library.

Award-winning novelist Maeve Binchy said of the closure of the facility: "A library is like a gateway for the imagination we can go through and find a whole new world. Nobody should shut those gates."

Christy Moore said: "I oppose the closure, it is an attack on an already deprived community. Any cutbacks should be spread evenly across the county and not hoisted upon one small district. The proposal is unfair and totally unacceptable."

Other notable figures that have lent their support include IFTA award-winning director and leading playwright Conor McPherson and Colm Lynch, a local musician who has been nominated for a Meteor award.

A number of protests have been staged in recent months opposing the closure.

Fine Gael has blamed the closure on a staff embargo which means a retiring librarian in Sallynoggin cannot be replaced, but Fianna Fail insist the closure could have been prevented by the council.

"Although the library isn't fully part of our school, a lot of students use this service," said Karl Gill, student president at Sallynoggin College.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council said that it would close Sallynoggin Library because it was not used as much as other local libraries. The council plans to help set up a volunteer-based book-lending club to replace the current, more extensive service.

"The alternative service will be more flexible in that it will be council led but community run," said local councillor Richard Humphreys of the Labour Party.

A new voluntary community library will operate instead in the Holy Child Community School from mid April. The library will open for four hours every week.