Belfast Telegraph

Board to rule on future of Belfast libraries

By Claire Regan
01 February 2005

A special meeting of the beleaguered Belfast Education and Library Board (BELB) was due to be held today to rule on the future of seven libraries ear-marked for closure because of financial pressures.

A delegation from trade union Nipsa was expected to address members at the board's Academy Street headquarters this afternoon with a case supporting the libraries remaining open.

Board members will then consider whether to endorse a proposal from their Library Committee to close the establishments as part of cutbacks to claw back a massive £5.4m deficit.

It is understood that the feeling among a large number of board members is against closing the libraries and a majority may vote against axing them.

The seven libraries ear-marked for closure are Oldpark, Whitewell, Ligoneil, Ballygomartin, Sandy Row, Ballymacarratt and Ballyhackamore.

The controversial decision on the future of the libraries was due to have been taken in December but was postponed to allow trade unions to argue their case.

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