Updated: 03/10/16 : 05:13:55
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Council boss 'will be directed to keep libraries open'

CHIEF EXECUTIVE Ciaran Hayes will be ordered to keep Sligo's three libraries open later this morning, Monday.

Elected members of Sligo County Council will meet to use a little known power to force Mr Haye's hand.

The plan has the support of all councillors, The Irish Times has indicated this morning.

The 2001 Local Government Act councillors allows elected representatives to compel county council chief executives to carry out their wishes.

It is called a 'Section 140' power and is not often used.

Reflects Frustration

The newspaper quotes Independent poll topper Declan Bree that the Section 140 motion had the unanimous backing of all the members. 

The support reflects, he said, ''the level of frustration among the elected representatives” at the failure of the Executive to resolve the ongoing library crisis.

Last week councillors rejected a proposal to increase local property tax by 15%. The chief executive, who met Minister for Local Government Simon Coveney on September 21st to discuss the crisis, said the LPT increase would also have meant a €200,000 reduction in the surplus the council is required to pay to central Government for the next three years, a saving which could have been used to hire library staff.

Former Mayor of Sligo, Thomas Healy, Sinn Fein, will propose the Section 140 move at today's County Council meeting.

His view is that if the Minister for Local Government Simon Coveney was considering reducing the surplus by €200,000, “he obviously can see that the financial plan is not working.''

Currently, Sligo town's central library and branches in Ballymote and Tubbercurry face the threat of closure.

Cut Workforce

County Council chief executive Ciarán Hayes has insisted he does not have staff to maintain existing services. 

Under a financial plan previously agreed with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Sligo County Council has to cut its workforce by 42%.

That move could have generated an extra €750,000 annual revenue.