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Planning Service recommended refusal on private Causeway application before Foster’s ‘minded’ statement

5 February, 2008

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has said that the Minister of the Environment still has questions to answer over the planning application for a Visitors Centre at the Giants Causeway. Mr McKay made his comments after the Assembly's Environment Committee were granted access to all papers from the planning application file today.

Mr McKay said:

"One of the papers which the Minister refused to disclose to the Environment Committee was a memo from Planning Manager Tom Clarke to her office on 1st June 2007.

"This memo clearly states that the Planning Service Management Board had finalised its consideration of the Seaport application and "agreed that a Notice of Opinion to refuse should be issued".

"Now that it is clear what the Planning Service's opinion on this application was, the question has to be asked of Arlene Foster, on what rationale and on who's advice did she base her 'minded' decision in September?

"It is quite clear that she did not base her statement in September on the advice of Planning Service, and that is in itself very worrying. Important questions still need to be answered by the Minister and the public demand and deserve answers." ENDS

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