Unstaffed libraries: at what cost?

Yesterday, we drove out to the LexIcon library in Dún Laoghaire, to join library staff in expressing opposition to Council management policy that sees the introduction of staffless library hours on Sundays.

Unstaffed or staffless libraries undermine, devalue and threaten the recognised place of libraries as social, cultural, educational and economic focal points.

Few other spaces can boast such a diversity of service.

Unstaffed libraries will undoubtedly facilitate increased opening hours but will not increase accessibility in areas of programming, classes, exhibits, and workshops, and may signal further staff reductions in the cultural sphere.

Libraries in the absence of staff will begin to erode the very service they provide.

I encourage people to express their support for staff at dlr LexIcon library and for the protection of our library services.

Culture Night offers an insight into the potential of a republic of culture

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, youth affairs and LGBTQI rights, Senator Fintan Warfield, speaking from Sinn Féin’s away day in Co. Meath, claimed that Culture Night 2016 offers an insight into the potential of a republic of culture.

Senator Fintan Warfield said;

“Culture Night has become a significant, all-Ireland, national occasion in which cultural institutions open their doors, extend their hours and facilitate engagement with over 350,000 residents.

“Those numbers underline the high levels of public appreciation for cultural and creative activity. Culture is a public good and should therefore be readily available and supported passionately by both states on this island.

“Three thousand events will take place between 5pm and 11pm tomorrow evening, offering an insight into the kind of levels of cultural activity that citizens could expect from a republic of culture, a republic that truly cherishes the arts, its culture and heritage.

“Culture Night showcases our wealth of creative talent and it is of paramount importance that those artists and creators are well resourced and paid fairly for their work.

“Culture Night has also become an all-Ireland occasion, highlighting the positivity of cross border partnership, and the obvious potential for greater all-Ireland initiatives north and south”.

Gender Recognition Act now represents the greatest obstacle to LGBT equality

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, youth affairs and LGBTQI rights, Senator Fintan Warfield has called on the Government to address the glaring gaps in the Gender Recognition Act a year on from the passing of legislation, and has stated that the Act as is, now represents the greatest obstacle to LGBT legislative equality.

Senator Warfield said:

“Gender Recognition has enhanced the lives of many in the Trans community. Of that there can be no doubt. However, this state in no way offers a pathway to legal gender recognition for citizens under the age of sixteen.

“That is not acceptable and represents a massive obstacle to LGBTQI+ legislative equality.

Local Authorities must realise the social contribution of street art

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, youth affairs and LGBTQI rights Senator Fintan Warfield has expressed concern and disappointment after Galway City Council ordered the removal of another mural from the streets of the city.

Senator Warfield said:

“Following reports by the Connacht Tribune, the removal of the William Street mural by Galway artist Finbar247 represents yet another instance where local authorities have defied public will and the wishes of the arts community.

“Major inconsistencies exist across our local authorities concerning street art policy.

“While Galway City Council and Dublin City Council have ordered the removal of murals in recent times, Waterford City has embraced local cultural activity by street artists, in recognition of its ability to reimagine an urban area.

Warfield regrets the removal of ‘Repeal the 8th’ mural

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Arts, Youth Affairs and LGBTQI Rights Senator Fintan Warfield has expressed his regret after a warning notice, issued by the Planning Department in Dublin City Council, ensured the removal of the ‘Repeal the 8th’ mural at Project Arts Centre, Temple Bar.

Senator Warfield said;

“The ‘Repeal the 8th’ mural, its popularity and support, were manifestations of a societal consensus for a referendum to Repeal the 8th amendment.

“It is clear that the mural received an overwhelming level of support from the public. We have seen during the referendum for civil marriage equality that public art has the potential to empower citizens, to shape a narrative, and impact on the making of progressive, social change.

“I commend Project Arts Centre for showing leadership and providing the public space for citizens to engage this issue and I regret that Dublin City Council have forced the removal of the ‘Repeal the 8th’ mural.”

Capital of Culture 2020, Cinemobile, and the IFB

Speaking in Seanad Éireann today, Senator Fintan Warfield requested the presence of Minister Heather Humphries in order to address the Seanad at the earliest opportunity.

Senator Warfield, a Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, raised a number of issues including Galway – European Capital of Culture 2020, the closure of the not-for-profit Cinemobile, and budget funding for the Irish Film Board.

Referendum to extend presidential voting rights should include our young people

Sinn Féin Senator and spokesperson for youth affairs, the arts, and LGBTQI rights, Fintan Warfield has welcomed the commitment made by Minister Joe McHugh that a referendum is to be held on granting voting rights to Irish citizens abroad for the purpose of Presidential elections.

The Senator has called on government to commit to a referendum on extending voting rights to those who have reached 16 years of age, as advised by the Constitutional Convention three years ago.

Senator Warfield said;

“I welcome the commitment made by Minister Joe McHugh that a referendum is to be held on granting voting rights to Irish citizens abroad, for the purpose of Presidential elections.

“It is hugely disappointing, that despite the Constitutional Convention recommending a lowered voting age of 16, no commitment has been made with regards a referendum on the issue since 2013.

Barriers faced by victims of sexual violence significantly higher for LGBT people

Senator Fintan Warfield has commented on a Rape Crises Network of Ireland report titled ‘Finding a Safe Space – LGBT survivors of sexual violence and disclosure in Rape Crisis Centres’.

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on LGBTQI rights, the arts and youth affairs said that the report highlighted the need for hate crime legislation in an effort to address racism, sectarianism and homophobia in Irish society.

Senator Warfield said:

“This is a critical piece of expert information and research and I commend the work of the Rape Crisis Network Ireland, who alongside GLEN and Gay Switchboard have highlighted the added vulnerability and exclusion faced by members of the LGBT community who are victims and survivors of sexual violence.

Government should not proceed with state-wide tender for library stock

Senator and a Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, Fintan Warfield this afternoon urged Government not to proceed with the planned move to a state-wide tender for supply and stock of public libraries.

Speaking in Seanad Éireann this afternoon; Senator Warfield said:

“Our library services, supported by Local Authorities across the state, make an important contribution to our communities and have developed to facilitate and foster learning, creativity and inclusion.

“Government are currently planning one blanket, state-wide tender for the supply of literature and stock to public libraries.

Government must apply for Presidential Decree for the release of Ibrahim Halawa

Speaking in the Seanad this evening Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield called on Minister Charlie Flanagan to request a Presidential Decree for the release of Ibrahim Halawa from an Egyptian prison.

Senator Warfield said;

“Ibrahim Halawa is only 20 years old, just a little bit younger than myself.  He should be studying in college and living his life surrounded by his friends and family.

“Yet he has spent the last 1,048 days incarcerated in a filthy and over populated Egyptian jail.

Have a safe, happy and healthy Dublin Pride

Sinn Féin Senator and LGBTQI+ activist Fintan Warfield has wished the LGBTQI+ community, allies and friends across the island a safe, happy and healthy Pride. Senator Warfield also sent solidarity and love to all those affected by the tragic events in Orlando.

Dublin Pride takes place today, Saturday 25th June. The march assembles at the Garden of Remembrance at 12 noon.

Senator Fintan Warfield said:

“I want to wish the LGBTQI+ community, allies and friends across the island a safe, happy and healthy Pride.

“I want to give a special welcome to those who join the protest for their first time. I recall still being in the closet as I marched in my first Dublin Pride parade with Sinn Féin friends and comrades. Without direct knowledge, they alongside all of the participants provided a safety net, and facilitated my being there.

Open letter to An Taoiseach outlines grave concern for arts policy – Senator Warfield

In an open letter to An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Senator Fintan Warfield has expressed grave concern regarding the attitude and approach this Government have taken to the arts.

Setting out his concern for the current arts policy, Senator Warfield queried the implications of the decision to broaden the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, as well as the decision to overlook the arts when appointing Junior Ministers yesterday evening.

Adams congratulates Fintan Warfield on election to Seanad

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has congratulated Senator Fintan Warfield on becoming the first Senator elected to the 25th Seanad on the Cultural and Educational panel this evening.

Teachta Adams:

“I want to warmly welcome Senator Fintan Warfield to the Sinn Féin team in Leinster House and congratulate him on his election to the 25th Seanad.

Warfield tops poll in Seanad election

Sinn Féin’s newly elected Seanadóir Fintan Warfield has said that he was immensely proud to have been elected to the Seanad and to have received such a large vote.

He said ‘to have been elected on the centenary of the Rising is a massive honour and privilege and I look forward to working with the rest of my colleagues in Leinster House to fight for the type of change promised in the Proclamation.

Irish Times, ‘Young Ireland forum’ debates future of Republic

An article by Mark Hilliard (Irish Times), who attended the “Young Ireland Forum” hosted on Pearse Street, Dublin on Friday 8th, April.

The melting pot. One hundred years and a short walk from where the 1916 Proclamation was unveiled, the next generation of Irish political thinkers gather.

It is a meeting of young minds in a country locked in political attrition. The partisan debate of the 1916 Clubs’ inaugural “Young Ireland Forum”, aptly hosted in Dublin’s Pearse Centre, aims to seek out “a common mindset regarding issues pertinent to the Republic”.