Cork North West Fine Gael General Election candidate Councillor John Paul O’Shea has welcomed government funding of €600,000 to support the provision of sensory facilities and equipment in public libraries that can help individuals with sensory impairments, special educational needs and other learning differences, and those on the Autism spectrum.
Department funding will be matched by local authorities to the value of €200,000 giving a total investment of almost €800,000. Each local authority will receive 20,000 from the Department of Rural and Community Development and will provide €6,600 from their own funds, bringing the investment in each local authority area to €26,600.
Cllr. O’Shea said: “It is important that people living with autism or learning difficulties and their families see our public libraries as a safe and welcoming space for them, somewhere they can have fun in and learn.
“The public libraries strategy Our Public Libraries 2022 – Inspiring, Connecting and Empowering Communities ensures that library services are inclusive, accessible and equitable to all. The aim of this funding is to improve the library experience and services for parents, guardians and carers of children, teens and adults with sensory impairments, additional needs and learning differences.”
Minister for Rual and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, added: “Public libraries play a very important role in assisting in the delivery of additional educational services to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and this funding will increase their capacity to continue this great work.
“It is in addition to funding of over €190,000 that I recently approved for the provision of 21 Tovertafel Magic Tables in public libraries which are being used by carers and people with dementia, autism spectrum disorder and learning differences.
“The Department has allocated €20,000 to each library authority which will be co-funded with a further €5,000. Proposals will be accepted early in the New Year from each local authority setting out what facilities or equipment it will be providing. It is expected that the new services will be available in the libraries in mid-2020.”