A debate on the planned closure of seven libraries in Moray is to be held at the Green Party National Conference at Inverness this weekend.
Support from the Greens on a national stage is being sought by Moray Greens Convenor, James MacKessack-Leitch, who is strongly supporting the campaign by Save our Libraries Moray to have the local authority decision reversed.
Moray Council’s Independent/Tory administration took the decision to go ahead with closures to seven libraries and one mobile library despite being warned the move may be illegal and the recommendations contained in their own Equalities Impact Assessment. The decision sparked an immediate campaign by the Save our Libraries Moray group, who are now planning legal action against the local authority.
Mr MacKessack-Leitch is calling on delegates at the conference to “Condemn the cultural and societal damage being wreaked by the Tory-led Moray Council Administration in closing seven rural libraries.”
The emergency motion instigated by the Moray politician also asks the conference to “Reaffirm that Scottish Greens recognise the importance of libraries as community hubs offering a wide range of services and opportunities.”
Calling on the conference to recognise that the cuts will disproportionately affect the most vulnerable members of society, leading down a path to disenfranchisement and isolation, the motion urges the party to “Stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Moray and Scotland in their battle to save their libraries.”
Mr Mackessack-Leitch said that that it is sad to see Moray making national headlines for all the wrong reasons, adding: “I am pleased to be able to speak up for our libraries on a national stage.
“This opportunity will really be able to set the context that across Scotland that it is only in Moray that we are facing the closure of almost half our libraries.
“Coming on the back of other harsh cuts this really highlights not only how the Tory-led Council Administration is totally out of touch with its own people, but also wildly out of step with every other Local Authority across the country – all of which are facing equally tough challenges.”
The Scottish Green Party Autumn National Conference is the biggest gathering of Green activists, politicians, policymakers and supporters.
This year it is being held in Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, on the October 5 and 6 and is open to guests.
Keynote speakers include broadcaster and commentator Lesley Riddoch and Professor Mike Danson of Heriot-Watt University, an expert on regional economics.
Meanwhile over 100 school children attending Hopeman Primary staged their own protest on Thursday via a fancy-dress ‘flash mob’ at their local library.