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.

“The result will negatively impact small and medium sized businesses that specialise in specific genres, including fiction and non-fiction, and children’s books.

“Public procurement should seek to sustain and develop local communities and where possible and practical, should be an achievable reality for small business, not a threat to their very existence.

“Thousands of citizens visit our libraries every day. Those citizens would defend our libraries as a space for young people without a workplace at home, an outlet for older people to research online and break the barriers of digital exclusion, or a space for citizens seeking to upskill or search for employment.

“Depending on the tender itself, we risk limiting the quality of local content available in Irish libraries. Across the arts, it is critical that we tell our own stories, be they on screen, stage or in print.

“Libraries provide a beacon of local knowledge and information. Those standards face potential erosion should one national or international supplier win the tender for state-wide supply of literature and stock to our libraries”.