The future upgrade of Enniskillen library has been cast into doubt after it was revealed there are “challenges” to securing the funding for the project.

Last year a planning application was lodged for a new state-of-the-art library. The old library building was due to be demolished, and a brand-new building to take its place. Construction of the building was reported to commence in mid-2022 and was due to be completed by December, 2023.

However, despite scaffolding and fencing around the perimeter of the building, it is unclear what work, if any, has taken place.

When contacted about the issue of funding for the library, the Department for Communities – which gave £150,000 and £225,000 towards the upgrade – said: “While Libraries NI, supported by the Department, have been able to develop the project to pre-tender stage, the current economic climate continues to present challenges in securing the remainder of the project funding.

“The Enniskillen Library project remains a priority and Libraries NI and the Department continue to work to resolve these issues.”

Enniskillen Councillor Donal O’Cofaigh (CCLA) said the news was “confirmation that there is now uncertainty over whether the money will be found to even finish the work that is being promised to the people of Enniskillen for our library”.

He continued: “The building has a load of scaffolding around it and it is unacceptable that halfway through a project, a fairly hefty commitment to upgrade the local library, it is not going to follow through.”

He also spoke of the essential need for a library in Enniskillen, and said that the people of Enniskillen will fight for the upgrade of the building to be completed.

“The library has proven invaluable as a social and educational resource over the past years, especially with the lockdown. So many people visit the library, using the facilities.

“And with the cost of living crisis, a lot of people can’t afford broadband, so the only way to access the internet to make a job application or to do things online is at a library.

“So we need to make sure that we have the best possible facilities in our county town, and ... we will have to fight again if Stormont is going to backtrack on their commitments to upgrade our library.”