Belfast Telegraph

Further library closures feared

More libraries in Northern Ireland could close because of spending cuts, it was revealed yesterday.

Multimillion-pound savings have to be made in the coming years with a recruitment freeze, reduced book stock and shorter opening hours all possibilities, the chief executive of Libraries NI warned. Staff sickness or pregnancy in small rural premises could force closure because they cannot be replaced.

Libraries head Irene Knox told a Stormont committee: “If we close a library as a result of having to make savings in this sort of process it is very unlikely that even if things get better in four years’ time that library will be able to open again because you will have decreased the service.”

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson said Executive decisions on how to bear the looming £2 billion spending cuts will be the most difficult in living memory.

The coalition at Westminster is expected to outline further cuts next month. It argues that all the money was spent by the previous Government.

Belfast Telegraph

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