Books are fundamental to unlocking a love of lifelong learning

23 February 2023

Labour education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has welcomed the launch of “Ireland Reads” day.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin praised government for building on Labour’s ‘Right to Read’ programme introduced in 2014.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“Children do not live in schools – they live in communities, and encouraging a love of books and learning through local libraries adheres to the age long truism that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. It is great to see government announcing long overdue funding for our library services that do so much to stimulate a love of learning in children and young people.

“The people of Raheny will also be thrilled to see longer opening hours for all library users. A tangible community approach, like ensuring that local libraries are open later in the evenings and longer at weekends, will improve literacy skills in a targeted way.

“The Ireland Reads campaign is vital to ending systemic disadvantage and inequality through encouraging a love of education and learning. OECD studies show that poverty and low literacy are two sides of the same coin and lead to the perpetuation of inequality later in life.

“My experiences as a teacher in the North Inner City convinced me that the challenge of defeating childhood illiteracy lay outside the walls of the classroom. Housing policy, community infrastructure and the delivery of an excellent library service are key to the lives of our more disadvantaged communities.

“We need to continue to place improving literacy and numeracy at the heart of educational reform. This is a central issue of equality which needs a commitment from all of the government departments and agencies that interact with our citizens, to ensure that the eradication of illiteracy becomes a national crusade.”

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