I raise this matter to urge the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to sanction the immediate opening of the new state-of-the-art library located in the converted 19th century St. Maur's Church, Rush, County Dublin, or do whatever is necessary to ensure it will be opened. The library has been refurbished and ready for operation since the end of September 2009. The people of Rush have shown great patience, but they are growing more and more angry at the delay in opening the library. The issue also affects the people of Lusk who do not have a library of their own either. There has been massive development, as well as population growth, in both villages in the last ten years, as a result of which many young families are now resident in the area. The library which I am delighted to say has been shortlisted to receive the World Architecture Award cannot be opened, as I understand it, owing to the embargo on public service recruitment. This is preposterous.
This state-of-the-art library cost €4 million to deck out and I am told it will spearhead the provision of a new electronic book scanning system for checking books in and out. The money was provided from Fingal County Council's own resources, not via a central library grant.
While the people of Rush are proud that their library is being hailed as the most modern library in the country, they want to have it open. We must recognise the importance of such a basic community service as a library, as I have no doubt the Minister of State does at a personal level, but he must act immediately. Given that the years 2003-12 were designated as the Literacy Decade by the United Nations and that in this modern knowledge economy there are 500,000 adults who are functionally illiterate in Ireland, we must do more to promote reading in the community. The campaign led by the local people to secure the opening of the library has been hard fought for 25 years and we must now deliver. The library cannot be allowed to lie idle, as that truly would be a disgrace.