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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 February, 2005, 17:29 GMT
BELB votes to keep libraries open
BELB headquarters
The Belfast Education and Library Board has voted to reverse a decision which could have led to the closure of up to seven branch libraries.

The board said the basic problem was caused by underfunding and that they were reluctant to close any libraries.

It said the decision was reversed because a new policy on libraries in Northern Ireland is to be introduced.

News of the policy was given to the board by the Department of Culture in a last minute message.

The libraries earmarked for closure are Old Park, Whitewell, Ligoniel, Ballygomartin, Sandy Row and Ballymacarrat.

Ballyhackamore was also named as a potential closure.

The Belfast and the South Eastern Boards are currently the subject of a statutory inquiry into why they have overspent their budgets.

Former Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure Michael McGimpsey said "common sense has prevailed".

"It is clear that the board has responded to the public's outrage and the many representations made on behalf of the public by local political representatives," he said.

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