Updated: 11/01/17 : 05:41:22
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Sligo library swipe cards -- swipe by ex Minister

SWIPE CARDS used in ''staffless libraries'' on a pilot basis in Sligo got a swipe yesterday from a retired senior government minister.

But the current Minister in charge of public libraries hit back last night.

Mary O'Rourke's open letter on the subject was published by The Irish Times yesterday, Tuesday.

Daft Idea

She branded the idea of staffless libraries as ''crazy, idiotic (and) half-formed'' and asked Minister Simon Coveney to use his power to halt it.

''Whose daft idea was this'' O'Rourke directly asked Minister Coveney. See below.

The idea has already been tried in pilot studies in Sligo and Offaly, readers were told by O'Rourke -- herself an author of several books.

Environment Minister SImon Coveney rejected the charges later yesterday.

Extending Hours

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke show, Mr Coveney said “a compliment from Ms O’Rourke comes at a cost.” 

“This simply is us using technology to open later in the evening. 

''It is about extending opening hours of libraries when staff need to go home.

Hugely Important

“Libraries are an important part of community life in every county. Staff are a hugely important part of that.

“The only change is allowing libraries to extend their opening hours,” he said.

MInister Coveney denied that library staff jobs were at risk.