Day of Action Against Library Cuts Takes Shape

Details have been announced of protests across Northern Ireland on Saturday 25th June as part of a day of action against library cuts. The Hands Off Our Libraries campaign was initiated by Labour Alternative and is supported by local trade union councils and other anti-austerity groups.

Fourteen libraries are threatened with a reduction in opening hours of up to five hours per week. Protests have so far been announced at the branches in Carrickfergus, Dungannon (noon), Finaghy, Enniskillen, Newry and Omagh (1pm). Protests or campaigning activities are being planned at the other libraries affected – Belfast Central, Glengormley, Lisburn, Bangor, Ballymena, Coleraine, Derry and Lurgan.

Spokesperson Sean Burns said:

“This is only the latest round of cuts to our libraries as a result of Stormont austerity. These community hubs provide vital resources, especially for some of the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. If we don’t resist this attack, more will come down the line. Our libraries will be run down to the point that they are no longer viable. We must defend public, free access to information and culture.”

“Saturday’s protests are aimed at raising awareness and mobilising the near unanimous public opposition to these cuts. The politicians tell us there is no money for libraries and other public services, yet they plan to give big business another huge handout at taxpayers’ expense in the form of a corporation tax cut. We demand they prioritise community services over profit. This is just the start of the campaign.”