‘It is an attack on the fabric of society.’
Library members took to social media over the weekend to voice their frustration and dismay after Cork City Library had to close on Saturday due to the actions of a small group of far-right agitators.
In a statement, the City Library staff said they were forced to close the library due to public safety concerns after the group, some members of which had flown to Ireland from the UK to join in the harassment, hung a banner from the front of the building.
The group is protesting the availability of LGBTQ+ reading materials.
“As part of a protest on Grand Parade, a banner was mounted across the entrance without permission. A request was made by Cork City Library staff that the banner be removed.” the Library staff said in a statement.
“This request was refused and resulted in an escalation of a tense situation. Having liaised with An Garda Síochana it was decided it would be unsafe for library staff to attempt to remove the banner.
“It should be noted that Cork City Libraries does not endorse the placing of banners on our library buildings. We would like to apologise to all library users for today’s disruption to service which was outside of our control.”
Cllr Oliver Moran has written to the Lord Mayor seeking that updated library bye-laws are brought before the next meeting of Cork City Council: “Among these, I’m seeking it would be an offence to use recording equipment in a library without the permission of staff.” he tweeted.
Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Kieran McCarthy said the closure was the result of “clear actions of heightened harassment by a very small minority”.
“I will be meeting with senior Gardaí this week calling for a stop to such horrific harassment.”
Cork Green Party councillor Dan Boyle described the situation as intolerable:
“This is not the right to protest, it is intimidation with behaviour that is threatening in its intent,” said Cllr Boyle.
Cork City Library is due to reopen to the public at 10am.