Credit: Gript

Donohoe: Libraries are “the last place” people should protest

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe has condemned a series of protests at libraries in relation to sexually-explicit books in children’s sections.

Asked about the protests last week, Donohoe said that Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien had “briefed” the government about the situation.

“I’m really aware of how libraries have become, in some places, a frontier of the divisive debates that are under way on cultural matters,” he said.

“I think it is absolutely vital that we respect the work that our librarians do that are treated with courtesy. And I know that local authorities will give them any support that is needed in them carrying out their work in a respectful and in a peaceful way.”

He added that libraries are “the last places” that protests should be taking place.

“For me, libraries are cradles within which we grow understanding, we grow empathy, and we develop ourselves, both as individuals, families and communities,” he said.

“They are the last places in which protest should happen.”

Late last week a Dublin librarian claimed that a state agency “instructed” libraries to display sexually explicit books in the teens section – a move which has led to significant backlash from parents and others.

“I’m a librarian with one of the Dublin local authorities, and many librarians privately object to making books with adult sexual content available to under-18s,” the librarian wrote to the Independent on Sunday.

“One of the books, for example, describes how to perform oral sex; including the following text: “It’s about sliding your mouth up and down the shaft of his c**k.”

“If, as an editor, you feel uncomfortable printing that, I ask you to consider library staff who are expected to give this material to young teens.”

This was in reference to “This Book Is Gay” – a book by a transgender individual named Juno Dawson, which was recently on a reading list officially recommended in Irish schools.

The Irish Education Alliance reported last week that parents had started approaching libraries to complain about this. This was in response to their discovery that books targeting youths as young as 12 years old included clear directions about “fisting” and “blowjobs,” as well as guidance on using adult dating apps like Grindr.

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