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Library board suspends meetings


03/10/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: BBC News

The Belfast Education and Library Board has voted unanimously to suspend all its meetings in a row over a predicted budget deficit of £7.5m.

Board members said there had been a breach of trust with the Department of Education who they said gave assurances that extra money would be available.

They said the department had gone back on those assurances and that their budget was too small.

Four years ago the board was reprimanded over a deficit of £9m.

Councillor Tim Atwood of the SDLP proposed the suspension which won the support of all politicians present.

"It's not our responsibility. There were promises made in March that the department would work with the board to resolve these issues and that has not happened," he said,

"And they're now saying there's likely to be no new money to tackle those issues."

Members voted to suspend all business until they get a meeting with the minister, Caitriona Ruane, and the permanent secretary Will Haire.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said they had consistently emphasised the "need to live within the level of resources available by the executive".

They also said the minister had made a bid for additional funding in September.

"The outcome of this has yet to be determined and when the outcome is known the department will work closely with all bodies, including the Belfast Board, in identifying and minimising the implications for front-line services."



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