Roscommon Library staff may take industrial action

Library staff in Roscommon, Leitrim and Sligo have balloted in favour of industrial action over plans to amalgamate library services in the counties.

  At 90 per cent, Co. Roscommon had the highest percentage in favour of a work-to-rule, followed by Leitrim (87 per cent) and Sligo (86 per cent). A total of 47 staff were involved in the ballot, organised by the trade union, Impact.

  The union said that the arrangement would leave two of the three counties without a County Librarian, and that the future of services in the counties would be threatened as library budgets come under increasing pressure.

  Eddie Walsh, an Impact official, said that the ballot result reflected the depth of feeling among staff about the amalgamation threat.

  “Industrial action is the avenue of last resort,” he said.

  “Local libraries are vital social hubs in rural and urban communities that have already lost shops, Garda stations, post offices and other local amenities.

  “We can’t allow our thriving library system to be gutted on foot of a remote number-crunching exercise, which doesn’t reflect local needs or the realities of community life.”

  The executive of Impact’s local government and local services division are currently finalising the precise form of industrial action.

  The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government confirmed that it had asked local authorities in the three counties to implement the new library structures.

  “The department is committed to working with the local authorities concerned in the implementation of the new arrangements,” it said.

  “In the event that an alternative approach is suggested for any individual areas targeted for shared services that yields the same service result, the department will work with the parties concerned to deliver the best possible outcome.”