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David Stanton, Fine Gael TD for Cork East and Minister of State at the Department of Justice, has confirmed that the Department of Rural and Community Development has granted funding to Cork County Council to provide the local library service with equipment to assist people with special needs.

“I am delighted that funding has been allocated to provide sensory facilities and equipment in public libraries across Cork East. This equipment will be of enormous benefit to anyone with sensory impairments, special educational needs and learning differences when visiting their local library.

“The Department has approved €21,170 towards the total cost of €28,226 for three Cork County libraries. These monies are for a sensory pod in Carrigaline and the installation of ‘magic tables’ in both the Cobh and Mallow libraries. These ‘magic tables’ are designed to project light animation games from a box on the ceiling onto the surface of a table which can then be interacted with by people with dementia, autism and learning disabilities”, said David Stanton.

Mallow Library has also been approved for additional funding of €111,262.50 for the development of a ‘My Open Library’ branch. This allocation will go towards the total project cost of €148,350 which will allow for expanded daily self-service access from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week. The project is expected to include security and layout upgrades in addition to the installation of a ‘magic table’.

“The Department of Rural and Community Development has also allocated funding of €18,432 to ensure that each library in the Cork County network will be equipped with an Emergency Comfort Kit. The Emergency Comfort Kit is designed to aid children with neurodiversity issues when visiting libraries and includes items such as a weighted blanket, dark glasses, ear defenders and fidget toys.

“I have no doubt that such levels of increased investment in local library services will ensure that libraries remain community focal points while also further encouraging their development as work and education hubs”, concluded David Stanton.