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Mixed messages on library and water charges… April 15, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, Irish Politics.

How very odd. A couple of weeks ago we noted (as did Paul Murphy) that Alan Kelly, the Minister for the Environment, had made a most curious statement in the Dáil about water charges, likening them to charges in libraries for borrowing books, with the comparison it would appear intended to normalise the idea of the former. He said, seemingly approvingly:

“the state builds libraries, yet people pay to take books out”

As a commentor noted, this is actually the case. As the SBP reports this last weekend:

While library membership is free in counties such as Dublin, Meath, Limerick and Donegal, there are fees for joining the library in 17 other counties. Meanwhile, in Leitrim, library members have to pay 30 cent for each book they borrow.

But wait! Someone apparently thinks the charges in Leitrim are a bad thing – which by the way they are, making a mockery of the idea of a lending library.

Who could this unlikely champion of free library access be?

Why step forward one Alan Kelly, yes, that Alan Kelly, Minister for the Environment!

Kelly has now asked officials to examine the business case for removing library membership charges in every county.

A spokesman confirmed that the intention was to provide free access to library services by 2017 in line with the official library strategy.

So logically…


1. fence - April 15, 2015

there’s a lot of change coming to the library world in the next few years. There mergers between smaller counties, Longford/Westmeath, Sligo/Roscommon/Leitrim, etc are just a way to save a few County Librarian salaries, but eventually, as the single Library Management System the whole library system will be amalgamated, or at least that is the speculation among those who work in the public libraries.

As for charges, in most cases children’s membership is free, but adults pay. Varying charges across the different counties. Usually these fees are set by the County Councils. It is a small revenue stream but it is some income.

Of course a lot of politicians like to say that the property tax goes to your local council, to pay for local services, you know, like bin (oops privatised in most places) and libraries (oops, they cost too!)


2. 7 Reasons Irish Water is Doomed to Fail | Novara Wire - July 29, 2015

[…] illegitimately dishing out over €1.5m in grants to towns in his own constituency, or saying “the state builds libraries, yet people pay to take books out” in an effort to get people to pay water charges (while also campaigning against library fees), […]


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