Thursday, 17 May 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
174. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if he has received a request from Kildare County Council for funding towards the library development programme in the north Kildare area; the extent of the requirement; the extent to which he has responded or intends to do so in the coming year; the extent to which Leixlip and Kilcock and other towns will benefit or otherwise from his financial response in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14392/01]
Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Dempsey): This Government has increased the annual capital provision for library development from some £2.5 million to almost £6.9 million since it took office. In addition, over £1.4 million is available principally for information technology developments for users of the public library service in the current year.
Subsequent to publication of the Branching Out report in 1998, local authorities were invited to submit a prioritised list of library projects so that a multi-annual expenditure programme could be formulated. The priority proposal identified by Kildare County Council at that time was for the construction of a library in Leixlip, the tender report for which is with my Department. Clarification was sought from the library authority on a number of items in the report and, although certain information is still awaited, I hope to be in a position to bring this matter to a conclusion in the near future. While no final figure can be approved until all information is received, I expect that this project will attract grant aid of over £1.8 million.
A further review of the overall expenditure programme, taking account of updated priority lists submitted by library authorities, was undertaken by my Department this year. Following this review, I recently approved a new tranche of projects, and provision for a branch library in Kildare Town is included. Based on the library authority's estimates for the project, it should attract grant aid in the region of £375,000.
The intention, arising from the Branching Out review of public library policy, is to undertake, in partnership with local authorities, a major redevelopment of our public library infrastructure over an eight year period from 1999 to 2006. While Kildare County Council has included other projects such as Kilcock on its priority list, these have been afforded a lower level of priority by the council than the projects mentioned earlier. It is not possible at this stage to say when such projects will receive funding.
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