Sinn Féin has this afternoon taken aim at the Government's multi million euro plan to revive rural Ireland, claiming its official launch in Ballymahon will take place in a soon to be rebranded 'staffless' library.
The criticism was one which came from the party's spokesperson for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural, and Gaeltacht Affairs Peadar Tóibín. TD.
“Internet connectivity is an extremely important element to future growth and development in rural areas but not enough attention is being paid on the need for Human Connectivity," said the Meath-West TD.
"Its telling that the Government would chose to launch their Rural Development Plan in a library that will see human connectivity replaced by automation.
“This trend is becoming increasingly evident throughout out rural Ireland as banks, post offices, Garda Stations, schools and shops are being forced to close. There has rightly been a greater focus on mental health in Ireland in recent years with isolation being identified as a significant contributor to difficulties.
“Libraries act as conduits of human interaction with mother and toddler groups, older people and children all interacting with librarians on a daily basis. It is of the utmost importance that any rural plan positions staff centrally in the delivery of services throughout our regional towns and villages.”