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Cork City Libraries
Protest

Cork City library forced to close as banner draped over entrance during protest

Library staff have been subjected to intimidation and harassment in recent days.

THE PUBLIC LIBRARY in Cork City was forced to close today as a result of an anti-LGBTQI+ protest being held there.

In a statement on Twitter, Cork City Council said the library would close at 12.30pm in the interest of the safety of staff.

“In light of planned demonstrations on Grand Parade, Cork City Library will close to the public at 12.30pm on Saturday 29th July,” the council said.

This decision is taken in the interests of the safety & well-being of the public and library staff.

An initial statement had caused confusion, after it appeared the library was forced to close because the banner was mounted without permission. A spokesperson later clarified that this was not the case.

“The decision had been taken to close due to public safety concerns,” a new statement said.

“As part of a protest on Grand Parade, a banner was mounted across the entrance without permission. A request was made in a civil way, to the protesters, by Cork City Library staff that the banner be removed.

“This request was refused and resulted in an escalation of a tense situation. Having liaised with An Garda Síochána, it was decided it would be unsafe for library staff to attempt to remove the banner.”

The earlier statement, issued on the day of the protest, also said:

It should be noted that Cork City Libraries does not endorse the placing of banners on our library buildings. We would like to apologise to all library users for today’s disruption to service which was outside of our control.

Banner

Photos from the scene of the protest show a number of protestors with Irish flags and a large banner covering the entrance of the library. A counter demonstration was also held.

Commenting about the closure on Twitter, Cork City Lord Mayor Kieran McCarthy said:

“Clear actions of heightened harassment by a v small minority, &now forcing the closure of a public library & intimidation of staff who are now locking themselves in their offices;

I will be meeting with senior gardaí this week calling for a stop to such horrific harassment.

Earlier this month, hundreds of protestors marched through Cork in a demonstration calling for greater protections for workers in libraries.

Organisers said library staff were facing ever more aggressive attacks by a disparate group of demonstrators opposed to trans and LGBTQI+ literature. 

Clarification: This piece was updated on 3 August after The Journal sought an additional statement from Cork City Libraries in light of new footage which emerged from the day of the protest. The updated piece reflects the fact that a decision was made to close the library before a banner was hung across the entrance, and includes a new statement.

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