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DUP ‘running scared’ of Causeway debate

2 October, 2007

Sinn Féin has accused the DUP of 'running scared' of discussing the controversy around the Giant's Causeway Visitors Centre after Councillor Philip McGuigan had put forward a motion to Ballymoney Council opposing any moves to give the Visitors Centre to a private developer but DUP Mayor John Finlay referred the motion to a private committee without allowing any debate on the matter.

Cllr McGuigan said that the fact that the DUP did not want the matter debated in public showed 'political cowardice' and was in stark contrast to the open debate on the matter in Coleraine Council.

Cllr McGuigan said:

"The controversy which has erupted in recent weeks surrounding the Giant's Causeway Visitors Centre and senior members of the DUP is something that members of the public are deeply concerned about. The motion I put forward tonight dealt solely with the issue of the Visitors Centre falling into the hands of a private developer without any reference to the DUP, but the party still felt that they could not discuss the matter in public and referred it back to a committee meeting which the public are not allowed to attend.

"I know that local Councillor and MLA Mervyn Storey signed a joint letter with Ian Paisley Junior to the NIO criticising the plans for the public sector proposal for a Visitors Centre so I am surprised that he did not want to discuss this issue in the public arena.

"This issue is a matter of public concern for people in the North Antrim area who will be disappointed that the DUP lacked the political courage to discuss this matter in an open and transparent way."

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay, who also attended the meeting added:

"It was quite obvious that the DUP Mayor used his position tonight to block any debate on the Causeway debacle which many members of the press had come to cover. If the DUP have nothing to hide in regard to the Causeway controversy they shouldn't have had any problem with discussing this motion before Ballymoney Council. The fact that they have referred it to a private committee from which the public are barred raises even more questions." ENDS

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