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Dublin: 3°C Thursday 24 September 2020
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Cork community library shut on 90 minutes notice is closed 'indefinitely'

Politicians say they have been assured the library will reopen, but no date has yet been set.

LOCALS IN THE Mayfield area of Cork have now been three weeks without their local library after it was closed without warning because the heating failed.

The Frank O’Connor Library has been a vital community resource since it opened in 1984 but it has now been closed indefinitely.

Local politicians say they have been assured that funds are available to fix the heating system but that a firm date for reopening has yet to be set.

A notice on the Cork City Council website says that the library is closed “until further notice”.

Local Sinn Féin Councillor Stephen Cunningham told TheJournal.ie that representatives were given just 90 minutes notice of the library’s closure.

“The ward councillors got notification on 4 o’clock on the day that it was closing that the library would be closing indefinitely from close of business,” he says.

We were told the problem was with the boiler and that the heating system was damaged beyond repair. There were a number of repairs in recent years but we were told economically it didn’t make sense to fix it again.

Cunningham says that glow heaters were being used to heat the library for a period but that temperatures had now got too cold to heat the building that way. He adds that the library is used by local schools and groups of elderly people.

“It is an area on the north side of the city that has very few facilities for young people, the elderly and people who need a social outlet that wouldn’t have it in other areas.”

The library itself is located on the Old Youghal Road and was officially named after writer and revolutionary Frank O’Connor in 1999. The library also houses a permanent exhibition about O’Connor’s life and work.

Management of the library have said that funds are in place to replace the heating system but that a contract has to be secured for the repair job. This is hoped to be completed around New Year’s.

Cunningham says that he has been approached by locals who feel the area has been long neglected.

“People really feel like they have been let down and abandoned by city council and government in the last decade, two decades even,”  he says, pointing to regeneration works in Knocknaheeny.

“They’ve a fantastic new library up there, that’s only opened in the last few months, which is brilliant for the area of course but at the same time you have Mayfield with a library whose services have been winded down in recent years.”

Read: Cork students attending classes in ‘freezing’ GAA dressing rooms after school fire >

Read: “The hardest part is telling them there’s no bed for the night” – A day in the life of the homeless of Cork >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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