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Doherty embarks on lobby offensive for transfer of Lisanelly and St Lucia

16 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Vice President and West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty will be engaged in a intensive series of meetings with MPs from all the main parties in Britain tomorrow and Thursday to lobby for the free transfer of the vacated MoD Military sites at Lisanelly and St Lucia in Omagh to the Six County Executive so that they can be used for not only the socio-economic regeneration of the District but also that of the entire area West of the Bann.

Mr Doherty said:

"Under the terms of the Reform & Reinvestment Initiative negotiated by members of the previous devolved administration a small number of MoD sites namely: Long Kesh; Ebrington Barracks; Crumlin Road Jail and Magherafelt, were put at the disposal of the Executive for socio-economic regeneration purposes.

"Following talks in 2003, a Joint Communiqué was issued by both governments, in which the British government intimated that it would favourably consider the transfer of additional MoD sites to the Executive of a re-established local administration to engender further regeneration of areas worst affected by the conflict.

"The British government has, of yet, failed to follow through on this Peace Dividend contribution and vacated military sites are being sold off to the private sector resulting in massive profits for the MoD."

The West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP also highlighted the potential of the transfer of sites in West Tyrone, he added:

"Covering an expanse of 155 acres, in total, the vacated military sites of Lisanelly and St Lucia in Omagh are second only in size to the Titanic Quarter in Belfast in terms of the land now available in an urban setting in the six counties for regeneration and redevelopment purposes.

"If this land is transferred to the Executive, a golden opportunity exists to strategically plan for not only the best usage of these sites in terms of regeneration of the local area but also in terms of effecting balanced regional development on an east/west of the Bann basis."

"Ministers in the current Executive are pursuing the free transfer of additional MoD sites, including Lisanelly and St Lucia, with the British Government and tomorrow and Thursday I will be engaged in an intensive round of meetings with MPs from all three main parties in Britain who I believe can influence the British government to positively respond on this crucial issue including: Labour members of the influential Ireland Affairs Committee, Andy Burnham, Chief Sec to Treasury, Owen Patterson MP, Conservative Shadow Secretary of State, Alaistair Carmichael, Lib Dem spokesperson on Ireland as well as Plaid Cymru and other individual MPs." ENDS

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