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Sinn Féin calls for full investigation into Causeway controversy

4 October, 2007

Environment Minister Arlene Foster has turned down a request from Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay to publish the Planning Service's Report and Recommendations for the private application for a Visitors' Centre at the Giant's Causeway. Ms Foster said that she did "not believe it would be appropriate to release a copy of the Planning Service report and recommendation." In response to this and the revelation that First Minister Ian Paisley had made highly questionable representations on behalf of the private developer Seymour Sweeney, Daithí McKay has called for a full investigation into the Causeway planning controversy and the DUP involvement in it.

Mr McKay said:

"Planning Service applications and files are supposed to be open for public to view and scrutinise. It is imperative that this remains the case if the Service is to avoid any claims of corruption or foul play. The Minister is clearly bringing the entire Service into disrepute by refusing to publish these documents and she has failed to give any good reason for that.

"This is a matter of major public interest and by refusing to publish the report the Minister clearly has something to hide. Sinn Féin are calling for both the report and recommendations to be published immediately."

He continued:

"Taking into account the revelation that Ian Paisley sent a letter to the Heritage Lottery Fund stating that Mr Sweeney had the blessing of world heritage body UNESCO for his Causeway Centre - which is false - we now believe that a full investigation needs to be carried out into this controversy and the involvement of the First Minister, Junior Minister Paisley, the Environment Minister and the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. The public demand answers." ENDS

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