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Minister Dick Roche Launches New Library Projects in Clare

4th February 2005
Address by Acting Clare County Manager, Mr. Gerard Dollard at the launch of new Library projects in Clare on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of Clare County Council's First Library Development Programme

I would like to join with the Deputy Mayor in extending a Cead Mile Failte to the Minister today who is honouring us in marking a number of initiatives undertaken by Clare Library Service. It is usually the case that one launches one thing at a time but here in Clare we are happy to launch four or five projects on the one occasion. I think it is a measure of the level of commitment and investment in the library service in Clare that we are in a position to have such a level of positive activity for the benefit of the entire community.

Progress is only achieved through partnership. In the Clare Library service partnership has served us well in implementing our programmes. The support of your department, Minister and the Library Council has been critical over the years not just in terms of the funding provided but also in terms of the real and active support for the various initiatives that have been brought forward. Such support has delivered:

Development of the Manse – the local studies centre – here in Ennis in 1988
Killaloe Branch Library in 1994
Major renovation of the library HQ also in 1994 and
Sixmilebridge Branch Library in 2000

I must also acknowledge the work of the elected members of Clare County Council who have shown a strong commitment to the library service and followed through on that commitment in terms of assigning substantial resources to the service on an annual basis. Even when financially times were tough the importance of resourcing the library service was unanimously accepted.

Partnership is also about working with and for local communities. The local community in every part of Clare has been central to the implementation and delivery of the library programme. As well as the projects I have already mentioned, local communities have been central to the improvement and creation of facilities at:

Kilkee in 1985
Tulla Market House in 1996
Corofin in 1992
Miltown Malbay in 1995
Lisdoonvarna in 1999
Kilmihil and Cranny in 2003 and
Kildysart (which also involved partnership with the Department of Education and County Clare VEC) in 2003

If I might be parochial for a moment – part of my management responsibilities covers the management of Shannon Town. I haven’t mentioned Shannon as part of the projects undertaken, as Shannon was fortunate to have the Sean Lemass Library put in place in the early 1980s. This and other initiatives such as the Shannon Leisure Centre only came to fruition through strong community involvement in improving what is Ireland’s only newly created town.

I mention this as I know that a close link was forged with the Minister’s home authority in Greystones, County Wicklow at that time and both Shannon and Greystones worked closely together in achieving what was then Town Commission status for our respective towns. Those links with Greystones have continued to the present day.

None of the progress achieved to date in the development of the Clare Library Service would have been achieved without the dedication and passion of a highly committed staff. I would like to acknowledge the tremendous work that all staff of the library service have done over the years, are doing today and I have no doubt will continue to do in the coming years.

In conclusion, I thank the Minister for honouring us with his presence here to day. I know that he will be impressed with the work that has been done. The Minister can rest assured that Clare Library Service will continue to be innovative in expanding and improving the service for the people of Clare

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