MITCHELSTOWN STILL WAITS ON NEW LIBRARY AS BUILDING LIES IDLE
Fianna Fail councillor Kevin O’Keeffe, a member of the Library committee of Cork County Council, recommended that the Northern committee ‘submit the development of a new library facility for Mitchelstown to the Department of the Environment for consideration for priority funding under the new funding programme’.
Cllr O’Keeffe outlined to the Northern committee meeting in Mallow this week that there were problems of access from the street to the present library premises which is situated on the first floor. Without a lift, there were obvious negative access implications for physically challenged members of the public wishing to use the library facility for a wide range of activities.
Cllr O’Keeffe said that he was aware that the issue of a new premises for Mitchelstown Library had priority status for a long time, with an earmarked site having lain idle for over seven years. The Mitchelstown councillor felt strongly that a recommendation from the Northern committee would help expedite the development of the new library facility in the town.
Fine Gael councillor Liam O’Doherty, also a member of the Cork County Council Library committee, in supporting the motion by Cllr O’Keeffe, recalled the commitment he made to himself when elected to Cork County Council to work towards obtaining a new library for Mitchelstown.
He told the meeting, “As far as Ms. Ruth Flanagan, our county librarian, is concerned we have been told in the last three budgets that, from Cork County Council’s point of view, they are ready to progress the Mitchelstown Library. All they are waiting for is the funding from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government".
Cllr O’Doherty confirmed that in terms of planning, approval has been obtained for the new facility. The problem is that the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is not sanctioning funding.
“The people of Mitchelstown are well aware of the situation for a number of years now at this stage We have had a site, and planning permission for a couple of years but not the requisite funding from government".
He continued, “ And there’s a new round of funding now for libraries opening up again next month, which wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary. Library fundings are opened up nearly on an annual, or at least two-yearly basis, and our county librarian makes an application each year for different libraries and basically we haven’t received funding for the Mitchelstown one yet. Mallow is completed, up and running now”.
They’ve a new library in Carrigaline. The building in Mitchelstown has been purchased since around 2001 and it’s lying idle since. No one else can use it either, in the meantime. It’s a pity".
"It beggars belief that the Government councillors bring this up time and time again. I’m beginning to think that they don’t have any shame at all; you couldn’t embarrass them at this stage. They bring up these motions looking for facilities for Mitchelstown that have been refused by their government. It would be more effective if they had a word with the relevant minister or with either of the two government TDs in this constituency", Cllr O’Doherty observed.
Cllr Frank O’Flynn said, “As the councillor who in 2001 originally asked Cork County Council to acquire a site in Mitchelstown which they subsequently did, I have a deep interest in the development of a modern facility in the town.”
Cllr O’Flynn said that back in 2001 he could already see that the existing library wasn’t properly catering for the needs of Mitchelstown and the surrounding area, because nowadays libraries are multi-functional venues, where people can have a cup of coffee meet their friends.
He added, “So, when I saw the site coming up in the Square in Mitchelstown, I asked Cork County Council to acquire the site from Dairygold and it was a good investment at the time.” “I am disappointed that we are still discussing funding. I have always felt that Mitchelstown will be the next in line for funding", he concluded.
Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe addressing his own motion on the issue, concluded by stating emphatically that the Fianna Fail-led government of recent years had shown commitment to providing funding for the development of library services in county Cork giving the construction of a new county library at Victoria Cross as a current example.
He added, “Now with the new public library capital programme for 2008 to 2012, Mitchelstown will be afforded the opportunity of receiving priority" and he welcomed the support of the Northern committee.
Cllr’s Kevin O’Keeffe and Liam O’Doherty are the two members appointed to Cork County Council’s Library committee representing Mitchelstown. It was agreed that everything possible should be done by the Northern committee to help expedite this badly needed finance for the new library in Mitchelstown from the next round of funding.
Thursday 24th April 6:58pm