Minister Joe O’Brien announces supports to make libraries more inclusive in Fingal

9th December, 2020

Minister Joe O’Brien and Fingal TD has announced funding for library supports in Fingal. The funding from the Dormant Accounts Fund, is overseen by Minister O’Brien and will assist libraries in reaching out to older people as well as marginalised and disadvantaged groups.

Part of the funding will be used to purchase literacy/numeracy digital skills licences/apps to assist people with low literacy levels, learning differences, visual or hearing impairments.

Other examples that the funding will be used for include:

• Classes for older people to learn to use to use WhatsApp and Zoom

• Provision of musical sessions for young members of the Traveller Community

• Initiatives aimed at members of the Deaf and Blind Community and people with disabilities

• Workshops in coding and robotics for children from DEIS schools

Announcing the funding Minister O’Brien said: “I am delighted to approve these projects under the 2020 Dormant Accounts Action Plan. The projects are diverse in nature and target a multiplicity of groups including Travellers, New Irish, residents of Direct Provision Centres, the elderly who have experienced isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, autism, deaf and blind communities, and people with learning differences such as dyslexia. This funding is building on the excellent projects which were delivered last year and will increase the public library capacity to continue that great work of fostering community well-being and building community cohesion.”

“It is great to see the investment in literacy and numeracy digital apps and licences. These can be expensive and very difficult to afford for families who need them. I hope that families, schools and afterschool clubs avail of these and benefit from them.”

“Part of this programme aims to support those in Fingal who have been marginalised by various aspects of COVID-19 and support wellbeing and a return to education through supports for DEIS schools, supports for those with sensory needs and residents of deprived areas. The funding will also be used for the purchase of licences for Coding Ireland and Lexia which will assist people with low literacy levels or learning difficulties.”

“I have a long standing commitment to the development of the library services in Fingal and fought against cut backs when I got involved in politics over eight years ago. I believe our libraries in Fingal can be a true force for social inclusion and while this initial funding is just for €18,000, it is being put to good use to make library services more accessible during these hard times. I have no doubt that these projects will do good in our communities and I am also interested to see how we can scale it up and share the learning.”

Welcoming the funding Balbriggan and Skerries Councillor Karen Power, said; “It is a key part of the National Library Strategy that services should be accessible to everyone, so I am delighted to see funding which will support marginalised, socially excluded and disadvantaged groups. This funding will assist libraries in reaching those in communities that would not usually have access to library services.”

“The advantage such library services bring to our communities cannot be overstated, now more than ever. The last few months have been very difficult for everyone in our communities and any funding which helps our libraries in Fingal to reach out and engage with communities is really welcome.”

For more information please contact Karen Power at karen.power@oireachtas.ie